Confronting Durable Educational Inequalities

Trey Menefee
Chair: Mark Bray
12:30 – 14:00
Tuesday, April 15th
Runme Shaw 203

[The presentation is available online]

In what sense has education become like economics, a field primarily dedicated to the growth and prioritization of the object of its study?  This seminar uses data collected from private schools for migrant children in Chengdu to illustrate Tilly’s (1998, 2001) framework of relational inequality. It shows how focusing on ‘more’ and ‘higher quality’ education is itself a mechanism that reproduces and sustains many of the very inequalities reformers hope to tackle, especially for those already at the bottom. This framework presents a significant conceptual challenge to the rights-based approach to international educational development, of which some implications will be explored.

Trey Menefee is a PhD student and part-time Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong and the author of Education in the Commonwealth and several works on the political economy of education and development.