Call for proposals to book on class analysis

By on 28.03.2017 in Calls

JustEd members are joining forces to develop a book that addresses issues of social class and justice in education, ’Rethinking class analysis for justice in education in the Nordic countries’. All JustEd members are welcome to submit a proposal to the book. The deadline is 30 April.

About the book

That social class is an important factor within education has been historically very well identified and documented. Today however there is some contention over social class. What does ‘class’ mean today?

Wendy Bottero asked this question in a 2004 article [‘Rethinking Class’, Sociology, Volume 38(5): 985–1003]. She pointed out that there are presently two distinct schools of thought around this question. One that adopts a ‘containing approach’ that tries to render existing class theoretical distinctions increasingly precise.

Bottero cited Goldthorpe (1996) and Marshall (1997) as examples. The other ‘argues for an expanded and transformed class theory’. Researchers such as Crompton (Crompton, 1998; Crompton and Scott, 2000) and Devine and Savage (e.g. Devine and Savage, 2000; Savage, 2000) are included in this group.

Their ideas react to perceived deficiencies of the first school, whose theories are described as based on increasingly circumscribed claims about class differences on the one hand and the obvious and increasing theoretical exhaustion and empirical inadequacy of class on the other (Pahl, 1993).


The debate about social class is timely we feel. Social class has perhaps never been more globally significant in education than it is today, and yet at the same time, the class concept has never been more questioned as a relevant analytical concept.

We are therefore proposing to develop a book within JustEd that addresses issues of social class and justice in education. The book will contain chapters that can either discuss theoretical matters, or be based on empirical investigations, including both qualitative and quantitative meta-studies.

All JustEd members are invited to submit a proposal to the book. The proposal should be in the form of an abstract for a proposed chapter. It should cover the disposition and main characteristics of the chapter, as a mainly empirical and /or theoretical chapter.

What the address of social class is in the chapter should be presented, as should the way the address relates to issues of education justice. Is the chapter for instance about how class affects education in some way in terms of or in relation to aspects of education justice or is the main emphasis and contribution elsewhere, and in such case where?

Our ambition is that through the chapter contributions, the book will identify and discuss key features in the debate in relation to issues of social class and justice in education in the Nordic countries, in a manner that adds both breadth, depth and precision to the analysis of social class and the discussion of its significance.

In education research a ‘wider and deeper’ concept of class has been argued as necessary for a number of years (Reay, 1998), and intersections with and closer investigations of other cultural interests and identities beyond the interrelationship of economic and social factors (Crompton and Scott, 2000: 5) have been identified.

Through these debates and developments there has been a broadening of the scope of class theory (Crompton, 1998: 119). However, as also Bottero (2004) notes, changes to the conceptualization and analysis of social class and social class relations in education have significant implications. They raise questions not only about shifts in the meaning of social class itself, but also shifts in how differences and inequalities that were once analysed as based on social class should now be approached. Should we argue for ‘plurality’, with social class understood as a diffuse ‘organizing concept for the investigation of a wide range of issues associated with social inequality and social differentiation’ (Crompton, 1998: 208), or is pluralism running the risk of problematically failing to address ‘the deep conceptual, methodological and empirical uncertainties around the concept of class’ (Savage, 2000:8).

The various chapters in this book will be expected to in some way address social class in relation to education systems, practices, outcomes or ideologies in education and for education justice in the Nordic countries. They may concern the renewal (intersectionalisation and pluralisation) or consolidation of original concepts of class and class analyses. Comparative studies between the Nordic countries and other countries are welcome too.

The abstract should be between 400 and 600 words in length. It should be submitted to Pia Mikander ( by the 30th of April. Full chapters are to be submitted by the 31th of October, 2017.


Bottero, W. (2004) ‘Rethinking Class’, Sociology, Volume 38(5): 985–1003

Crompton, R. (1998) Class and Stratification, 2nd Edition: Cambridge: Polity

Crompton, R. and J. Scott (2000) ‘Introduction: The State of Class Analysis’, in R. Crompton, F. Devine, M. Savage and J. Scott (eds) Renewing Class Analysis, pp. 1–15. Oxford: Blackwell.

Devine, F. (1998) ‘Class Analysis and the Stability of Class Relations’, Sociology 32(1): 23–42.

Devine, F. and M. Savage (2000) ‘Conclusion: Renewing Class Analysis’, in R. Crompton, F. Devine, M. Savage and J. Scott (eds) Renewing Class Analysis, pp. 184–99. Oxford: Blackwell.

Marshall, G. (1997) Repositioning Class. London: Sage.

Reay, D. (1998) ‘Rethinking Social Class: Qualitative Perspectives on Class and Gender’, Sociology, 32(2): 259–75.

Savage, M. (2000) Class Analysis and Social Transformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



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