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The Link between Context, Ethnicity and Diversity in the School Careers of Migrant Students and Descendants of Migrants

TitleThe Link between Context, Ethnicity and Diversity in the School Careers of Migrant Students and Descendants of Migrants
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBarthou E
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published11/2018
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsethnicity, Migration, school effects, school mix, school trajectories

The aim of this article is to shed light on the role of contextual effects, of the mix and the organization of secondary schools in the activation of ethnic categories, notably through the constitution of classes. The various surveys have allowed us to see that the organization of schools is a result of ethnic differentiation and that school actors often have an ethnic reading of school facts, but more or less marked depending on the context. They engage in very different forms of discrimination, whether direct, indirect, benevolent, involving lower ambitions for racialized students or the use of supposedly more appropriate supports. Therefore, the projections and school careers of students who are newcomers or immigrant descendants are often less ambitious and more oriented towards vocational courses than those of other students, but with differences according to their geographical origin. Furthermore, they are more likely to underestimate themselves and have lower self-esteem. These effects of context also play a key-role in school sociability and ethnic highlights. Ethnic diversity contexts clearly produce distance, differentiation and discrimination, when the school contexts in which young descendants of migrants are in the majority, are less marked by ethnicity-related conflicts, although this is indeed present. Segregation seems to partly protect from discrimination.