Between integration and freedom: School segregation in critical perspective

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In the Danish case, school segregation is recognized as a crisis of society, but it is also a crisis in the deeper sense that central actors disagree about in what sense it is a crisis. This raises the general questions: In what sense is school segregation a problem? What exactly is the crisis? Though these are partly normative questions, in Scandinavian contexts we can interpret them in light of the internal value-commitments of society. Accepting this premise allows us to build on the empirically informed and philosophically rigorous work of Elizabeth Anderson according to which segregation should be viewed in light of the imperative of social integration. The demand for citizens’ equal participation in the main institutions of society is, according to her, already entailed immanently if a society is broadly commitment to democracy. Finding this immanent democratic approach to be insufficient considering widespread concerns with respecting parental freedom, this article discusses the more value-integrative approach found in the political philosophical work of Hegel. According to this approach, our value-commitments to both social integration and individual freedom can be integrated if central public institutions reflect a complex structure of recognition. On the basis of both of these two steps, the article suggests ways of understanding and tackling the crisis of school segregation in a Scandinavian setting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)265–288
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

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