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Ethnic school context and the national and sub-national identifications of pupils

[journal article]

Agirdag, Orhan; Houtte, Mieke van; Avermaet, Piet van

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Abstract In various European countries, policymakers strive for educational desegregation to enhance pupils’ national identifications. Since little empirical evidence supports such a policy and social identity theorists emphasize the importance of context, this article examines the impact of ethnic school composition—measured by the proportion of non-natives and ethnic heterogeneity—on the national (Belgian) and sub-national (Flemish) identifications of pupils. Multilevel data analyses by surveying 2,845 pupils (aged ten to twelve) in sixty-eight Flemish primary schools reveal differential effects for natives and non-natives. While the proportion of non-natives at school is negatively associated with non-native pupils’ identifications, it is positively related to native pupils’ identifications. In general, the ethnic heterogeneity of the school is negatively associated with pupils’ national and sub-national identifications. Our findings indicate that the relation between ethnic school composition and pupils’ identifications is mediated by the latter’s interethnic friendships. The consequences of these findings for educational policy are discussed.
Classification Macroanalysis of the Education System, Economics of Education, Educational Policy; Social Problems
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 357-378
Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34 (2010) 2
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2010.510198
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)