“What nexus between race, class and school choice? A qualitative exploratory research in the Veneto region” (progetto di ricerca del Dip. FISPPA, SID 2022-2024)



Responsabile scientifica: prof. Annalisa Frisina

Schools are important sites for the promotion of equal opportunities, as well as for concerns of social exclusion. They play a key role in the reproduction of social inequalities and racial discrimination. The current system of secondary school choice, which characterises most European countries, emphasises the role and capacities of parents to make the “right choice” for their children. School selection has become an object of intense anxiety regarding the education and socialisation of children, with the selection of schools representing a key factor in the social reproduction of classed and racialized belongings. While the literature has focused on issues of school segregation and discrimination, there is little attention on how the social and cultural capitals parents draw from, while selecting secondary schools, are both classed and racialised, both shaping and shaped by a range of contextual forces.

Firstly the project aims at conducting exploratory research on the Italian case, focusing on parents and teachers involved in school guidance and counselling (orientamento) in the process of choosing secondary school in Veneto region. The qualitative pilot study will be conducted by the Italian Research Group, with the support of the European Experts Group. The methods used will be focus groups and discursive interviews, aiming at gaining scientific knowledge on the nexus between race, class and school choice. The Research Team will organise different groups of parents (with and without a migrant background) and teachers (in scuole secondarie di primo grado and secondo grado – middle and secondary schools – both from working class areas, with a high number of
migrants, and predominantly white middle and upper-middle -class districts) to compare experiences and narratives about schools and school selection.