The (im)possible success of disadvantaged students. Reflections on education, migration and social change

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The paper focuses on the “unexpected pathways” of successful students with an immigrant background: these biographical routes, that seems socially impossible, raise theoretical issues around the individual-society, actor-structure relationship. Disadvantaged students who succeed represent a sociological challenge in the attempt to understand atypical situations and to identify the institutional processes and the structural opportunities that facilitate them, reducing ethnic inequalities in education. This framework is the starting point of the Su.Per. project (Success in educational pathways of students with immigrant background), based on the collection of written autobiographies of 65 immigrant students, attending upper secondary education in Northern Italy. The biographical approach allows to deepen the social change that derives from the positive impact of immigration on education. Within this interpretative perspective, the article underlines the contribute of the Su.Per. project to a new “definition of the situation”, that considers possible the educational success of immigrant students, drawing new narratives and discourses on inequalities, but also giving voice and supports to disadvantaged students, and introducing them to a field of unforeseen possibilities.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)51-58
Numero di pagine8
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • educational success
  • immigrant students


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