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Spyros Themelis

Spyros Themelis

SOCIAL CHANGE AND EDUCATION IN GREECE: A STUDY IN CLASS STRUGGLE DYNAMICS – A NEW BOOK BY SPYROS THEMELIS

A New Book by Spyros Themelis, MiddlesexUniversity

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

Macmillan, New York)

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: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=537469

It is published in the Palgrave Macmillan Marxism and Education Series: http://www.palgrave.com/products/SearchResults.aspx?s=ME&fid=3658 and http://us.macmillan.com/series/MarxismandEducation

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Eurozone Crisis

EUROZONE IN CRISIS: REFORM OR EXIT?

Research on Money and Finance (RMF) at SOAS and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities are organising a roundtable on:

‘Eurozone in Crisis: Reform or Exit?’

The event will explore themes from the widely read RMF report ‘Eurozone in Crisis: Beggar Thyself and Thy Neighbour’. It will also contribute to the debate on the social, political and economic aspects of the Eurozone crisis that was launched by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. Since the start of 2010 the Eurozone crisis has become progressively deeper, threatening the existence of the euro as well as the coherence of the European Union. The crisis poses questions of economic malfunctioning and austerity policies imposed on several European countries, but also of democracy and state relations within the European Union. The roundtable will consider these issues from a variety of radical perspectives.

Participants include:

Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, ‘Reform or Exit from the Eurozone?”

George Irvin, SOAS, ‘Costs and Benefits of Default’

Costas Douzinas, Birkbeck, ‘The Democratic Deficit within the Eurozone’

Stathis Kouvelakis, King’s College, ‘The Eurozone Crisis as a Crisis of the State”

Alex Callinicos, King’s College, ‘Political Implications of the Eurozone Crisis’

CHAIR: Larry Elliott, The Guardian Newspaper.

Date and Time: June 2nd, 6-8
Venue: Rm B33, Birkbeck College, Mallet St. WC1

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May Day

A NEW WASTE LAND? FIFTH ANNUAL MAY DAY LECTURE

Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
SEMINAR SERIES IN RADICAL POLITICAL & SOCIAL THOUGHT

Fifth Annual May Day Lecture

A New Waste Land? From the Cruellest of Aprils to the Most Unpredictable of May Days

Konstantinos Tsoukalas, Professor Emeritus in Sociology and Political Theory, University of Athens

Do something democratic this election day, think!

Join us as Konstantinos Tsoukalas examines the current economic crisis and political malaise. Professor Tsoukalas is Greece’s most illustrious political theorist and public intellectual. He taught at the University of Paris VIII for many years (1968-1981) before returning to Greece, having worked closely with such key Marxist thinkers as Nicos Poulantzas, Jean-Claude Passeron, Henri Lefebvre, and Philippe Rey. His books include: The Greek Tragedy (1969), Dependency and Reproduction (1975), Social Development and the State (1981), State, Society, and Labor in Post-war Greece (1986), Idols of Civilization: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in the Contemporary Polity (1991), Sovereign Power as People and as Nation (1999), and War and Peace after the ‘End of History’ (2006).

Thursday May 6th, from 5-7pm
Council Chamber, Old Fire House

ALL ARE WELCOME

For further information please contact: Dr Peter Bratsis (Tel. 0161 295 6555 or p.bratsis@salford.ac.uk)

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