Sorry for the troubles with our listening page, here is some reading you could do instead!

From the Preface to Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities

by Etienne Balibar

“For different reasons, I totally agree that, in present-day capitalism, generalized formal education has become not only ‘reproductive’, but productive of class differences. It is merely that, being less ‘optimistic’ than [Wallerstein] is, I do not believe that this ‘meritocratic’ mechanism is politically more fragile than the historical mechanisms for acquiring privileged social status that preceded it. This has to do, in my view, with the fact that schooling–at least in the ‘developed’ countries–is constituted both as a means for the selection of managerial staff and as an ideological apparatus well suited to naturalizing social divisions ‘technically’ and ‘scientifically’, in particular the division between manual and intellectual labor, or between the management and the performance of labour, in the successive forms those divisions have assumed. Now this naturalization, which, as we shall see, is by no means unrelated to racism, is no less effective than other historical legitimations of privilige.”


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