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Spyros Themelis

Spyros Themelis



Social Change and Education in Greece: A Study in Class Struggle Dynamics

Dr Spyros Themelis, Senior Lecturer in Education, Middlesex University

MONDAY, 22 April, 2013

5:00pm to 7:30pm

Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, College Building, C219/C220, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT


Event highlights:

Opening/closing chaired by Waqar Ahmad, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, MiddlesexUniversity

Guest Speakers

Confirmed Speakers:

Tony Green, Palgrave Macmillan Marxism and Education Series Editor, University of London, Institute of Education

Professor Joyce Canaan, Professor of Sociology, Birmingham City University  

Dr Eva Gamarnikow, Department of Policy Studies, University of London, Institute of Education

Dr Stathis Kouvelakis, Reader in Political Theory, King’s College London


Who should attend: Research active staff, readers and professors from all Schools and Institutes at Middlesex University and other universities, educationalists, research students, media and policy makers.

This event is free to attend, but participants must confirm their attendance by email by 15th April. RSVP by 15th April to Daniela Pantica on  


About the Book

Social Change and Education in Greece: A Study in Class Struggle Dynamics (2013, Palgrave

Macmillan, New York). A New Book by Spyros Themelis, Middlesex University

The post-war orthodoxy postulated that education is both a mechanism for upward social mobility and an engine for economic growth. This book takes a challenging and refreshingly novel approach to the way education and social mobility are researched and theorised. The key message it delivers goes against the dominant post-war orthodoxy, which has postulated that education is both a mechanism for upward social mobility and an engine for economic growth in liberal capitalist countries. The conclusion the author reaches flies in the face of mainstream political consensus that perceives social mobility as panacea for the provision of occupational opportunities and an instrument for the levelling of the playing field. Much of what lays beneath social mobility, Spyros Themelis argues (apart from a great deal of sophisticated number-crunching) is a celebration and acceptance of an unequal system of allocation of opportunities.

This is one among very few studies that explore social mobility and attendant processes with the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The author views social mobility not merely as the outcome of the movements of individuals from one income or occupational group into another, detached from their societal, community and family context, as in conventional mobility studies. Instead, he examines social mobility as a complex process, where socio-economic (e.g. migration), cultural (e.g. marital practices and community values) and political (e.g. political patronage) forces, experiences, arrangements and strategies interact and interconnect in impeding or enhancing individuals’ and families’ social mobility movements.

The book makes some contribution to the ongoing debate about the economic crisis that has hit Greece since 2009. It suggests that the failure of education to promote equality of opportunities is symptomatic of the failure of the wider system to prioritise fair and equitable arrangements. If Greece’s current situation is to teach us a lesson, this is to urgently rethink about the whole system, not only in Greece but in the rest of the Western world too. The myth of education-based meritocracy and unfettered social mobility has anaesthetised Western societies to the multitude of social inequalities with which they are permeated. These might be hard times, but all the more appropriate to urge us to think about positive social change.

Dr Spyros Themelis is a Senior Lecturer in Education, Department of Education, Middlesex University, UK.

The book can be ordered from this link: 

It is published in the Palgrave Macmillan Marxism and Education Series: and

Details on the book were originally provided at:




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  1. […] 2. Spyros Themelis (Middlesex University) on Social Class and Education and his latest book: Social Change and Education in Greece […]

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