Education and Privilege in Contemporary Argentina: Between the Demand for a Meritocratic Individuation and the Production of Solidarities

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Victoria GESSAGHI, CONICET, Argentina
Florencia LUCI, CONICET, Argentina
The Argentine educational system is strongly unequal. Since the 1980s, educational research has been documenting the deepening of its fragmented configuration as a result of a myriad of processes among which we highlight: contemporary processes of individuation, the expansion and diversification of goods and services consumed by the different groups social, neoliberal economic policies carried out since the last quarter of the twentieth century in Argentina and educational policies addressed to the sector. This paper presents partial results of a larger research project that intends to understand the relationship between education and privilege in contemporary Argentina. Based on semi-structured interviews with two generations of alumni (graduated in years 81 and 97) from two elite schools in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, one public and one private, this presentation addresses the formative experiences of these alumni as a central part of the active work of construction, maintenance and justification of elite positions. The paper describes the strategies and bets of two fragments of the elite to show that this process involves the articulation of two logics: the demand for a meritocratic individuation and the production of multiple forms of solidarity. It then moves on to describing the heterogeneous meanings that both logics assume in each fragment and the ways to resolve their tensions and contradictions in the process of disputing and consolidating an elite position. In addition, by including the generational dimension, it depicts continuities and ruptures in the way these two fragments of the elite have historically understood and disputed the role of education in the production and maintenance of the privileged position.