Education, equality and social cohesion: a distributional approach

Green, A, Preston, J and Sabates, R (2003) 'Education, equality and social cohesion: a distributional approach.' Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 33 (4). pp. 453-470. ISSN 0305-7925


Promoting social cohesion through education has re-emerged as an important policy objective in many countries during the past decade. But there is little clarity in policy discussions about what social cohesion means and how education may affect it. In this article we distinguish between social capital and societal cohesion and argue that education acts in differential ways on each. Using comparative, cross-country analysis, we develop a 'distributional model' which shows the relationship between equality of educational outcomes and various measures of social cohesion. In the final part of the article we discuss theories explaining the cross-country trends and variations in educational inequality and social inheritance in education, and argue that education system characteristics, such as degrees of 'comprehensiveness' in secondary schooling, may be an important factor in both. We conclude by arguing that policies to increase social cohesion through education must pay more attention to the reduction of educational equality than they currently do.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2017 17:26
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 17:26
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