Discourses of Inequality

Reproducing Gendered, Ethnic, and Classed Subjectivities and Social Inequalities through Sexuality Discourses in a Hungarian School


  • Dorottya Rédai Central European University


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In this paper I focus on the constitution of intersectional subjectivities and social inequality (re)production and discuss how class and ethnicity are (re)produced through gendered sexuality discourses and practices in a Hungarian secondary school, highlighting an aspect of intersectionality rarely explored in the sociology of education. The data used for the analysis come from a school ethnography I conducted between 2009 and 2011 in a combined secondary vocational-technical-grammar school in Hungary. The students of the school were mostly from lower-middle-class and working-class backgrounds and were ethnically mixed; i.e., there was a significant proportion of Roma students. I apply critical discourse analysis to interview excerpts with students and teachers to show how ethnicity and class are constituted intersectionally through sexuality discourses. Class is an important axis of subjectivity to include in the analysis of ethnic differentiation, as the two categories often converge. I demonstrate these processes of constitution through examples of teachers talking about students’ sexuality and about ‘Roma culture,’ including specific references to ethnicized reproductive patterns, and a case of sexual harassment of a Roma girl by a white teacher with potential consequences for her future professional career and class positioning. I argue that the gendered sexuality discourses and practices I have identified and the subjectivities they constitute simultaneously create binary categories of race/ethnicity and class and allocate people within and outside these, leading to the re-inscription of social inequalities in schooling.






Ethnic Integration and Interethnic Relations in Schools