Event Header Image

Education Transitions and Social Inequalities

Bourdieu Study Group’s Mid-Term International Conference 2020

8-10 July 2020
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology

Topic of the Conference

Educational transitions are of paramount importance to understand the dynamics of social inequality and social selectivity. It is during transition processes where the conditions and effects of the choice-making process emerge, evidencing the multiple impacts of political, institutional and social factors in students’ identities, opportunities and lives. As stated by Reay et al. (2005), ‘who goes where’ and ‘who does what’ are top research questions when it comes to understand the inequalities that emerge in times of transition. It is also during transition processes that the meaning of future expectations and aspirations become most relevant and where the dynamics of educational inclusion and exclusion, including Early School Leaving, take place and the multiple dimensions of students’ vulnerability become radically evident (Tarabini & Ingram, 2018).

This is why educational transitions are a central object of Bourdiesian inquiry. Because ‘in doing transitions’ the multiple sources of social reproduction and resistance emerge, providing important insights for understanding the contemporary dynamics of structure and agency interactions. Concepts such as field, capitals or habitus are of key importance in on-going critical research around educational transitions, proving that young people’s inequality of conditions to chose and to be successful thorough their choices are the expression of different structures of opportunities and privileges expressed through policies, institutions, relations and identities. 

Thematic areas

The objective of the International Conference is to bring together scholars interested in the critical analysis of educational transitions from a Bourdieusian perspective, comprising a wide range of areas of inquiry, which include:

  • Theoretical approaches to unpick the complexities of contemporary processes of educational choices, aspirations and transitions.
    • Classical Bourdiesian conceptual tools to study educational transitions
    • New conceptual tools inspired by Bourdiesian original concepts to study educational transitions
    • Articulations between Bourdiesian perspectives and other theoretical approaches to study educational transitions
  • Methodological approaches to untangle the utility of the Bourdiesian analytical tools for the study of educational transitions
    • Relational thinking in the field of educational transitions
    • Methodological challenges for the study of fields, capitals and habitus
    • Qualitative and quantitative methods to study educational transitions
  • Empirical approaches to explore the relationships between educational transitions and social inequalities in different educational systems, political and institutional contexts, as well as by means of different students’ dispositions, feelings and practices.
    • Politics, policies and field for educational transitions
    • Institutional and school frameworks for educational transitions
    • Different actors and relationships in educational transitions
    • Educational transitions and social identities (social class, gender and ethnicity)

Proposals can also combine theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches.

Conference Structure

The conference will include 2 keynote sessions and 2 keynote semi-plenary sessions, as well as a Book Launch, and several social and academic events.

Keynote speakers are:

  • Agnès Van Zanten (Centre National de la Recherche Scintifique, Paris)
  • David James (Cardiff University)

Keynote panellists are:

  • Simon Boone (Brussels Studies Institute)
  • Ciaran Burke (University of the West England)
  • Morena Cuconato (University of Bologna)
  • Sirpa Lappalainen (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Berenice Scandone (NatCen Children and Families, London)
  • Amy Stich (University of Georgia)


The conference includes two main types of submissions: Papers and Symposia.


Paper presentations last 15–20 minutes, plus some time for questions. They will be scheduled in 90-minute sessions, which include 3 or 4 papers on similar themes.

The submission consists of an abstract of 500 words (references included) clearly indicating the object of enquiry, the methodology of the study, the expected outcomes and its relevance for the topic of the Conference.  

The title, the name and the affiliation of the authors, as well as five keywords, have to be also specified. Abstracts will be reviewed and selected for presentation by the Scientific Committee of the Conference and must be submitted online to the submission platform..

Depending on the proposals received the Scientific Committee could decide to organise some sessions in Spanish. Even if all the abstracts have to be submitted in English if you have preference for Spanish presentation please indicate it in your submission (in any case, take into account that, as indicated, the final decision on this topic remains on the Scientific Committee).


Symposia consist of 90-minute Conference sessions organised by the submitters. They include a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 papers per session plus a Discussant. The symposia need to be handed in as one submission with a description of the symposia (up to 500 words) and abstracts for all papers linked to it (500 word abstract per paper). You will also be asked to state 5 keywords and list presenting authors and co-authors with email addresses and affiliations. A Chairperson and a Discussant, who can offer a critique of the symposium, need to be named on the proposal.  Symposia will be reviewed and selected for presentation by the Scientific Committee of the Conference and must be submitted online to the submission platform.

In the same way that in the paper presentations and depending on the proposals received, the Scientific Committee could decide to organise some symposia in Spanish. Even if all the symposia proposals have to be submitted in English if you have preference for Spanish presentation please indicate it in your submission (in any case, take into account that, as indicated, the final decision on this topic remains on the Scientific Committee).

Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, 31 January 2020.


Abstract decisions will be communicated against all submitted papers by 28 February 2020, the presenter booking deadline is 1 April 2020.

Registration rates are the following:

BSA Members Full Conference


BSA Concessionary Members Full Conference


Non-Members Full Conference


Registrations received after 1 April 2020 will be increased by £50 across all registration types.

Registration includes:

  • Free access to all Conference sessions
  • Free access to all Conference coffee breaks and lunches
  • Free wine receptions
  • Conference online programme booklet
  • Conference bag-kit
  • Certificate of attendance to the Conference

The Conference Fee does not include access to the social dinner on 9 July. When registering for the Conference, delegates could also book their reservation for the social dinner.

Key Dates

Abstract submission deadline

Friday, 31 January 2020

Abstracts notification

Friday, 28 February 2020

Presenter booking deadline

Monday, 1 April 2020

Initial programme sent to participants

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Final programme sent to participants

Friday, 15 May 2020


8-10 July 2020

Conference Organisation

The conference is co-organised by The British Sociological Association’s Bourdieu Study Group together with the Edupost16 project (UAB).

Scientific and Organising Committee

  • Aina Tarabini  (UAB)
  • Alba Castejón (UAB)
  • Marta Curran (UCM)
  • Judith Jacovkis (UAB)
  • Martí Manzano (UAB)
  • Alejandro Montes (UAB)

If you have any further questions, please contact us at the following e-mail address: for academic queries Aina Tarabini and for any other queries Elaine Forester.