Education as a dividing line. From old to new societal fault zones.
The increase in the number of higher educated people results in an important societal demarcation, states prof. dr. Mark Bovens LLM in his inaugural lecture Education as a demarcation line. From old to new societal fault lines. In the Netherlands, a new social division is unfolding on the basis of education. Higher educated people forge social relationships with people who have a similar educational background. Consequently, higher and lower educated people become more separated in society. These groups differ tremendously with regard to prosperity and well-being. Furthermore, they have opposite opinions on social-cultural topics such as immigration, integration and the process of becoming more European. Differences are most striking amongst non-denominational people.
Nowadays, the Dutch political landscape is defined by social and cultural divisions as well. There are social, liberal and pro-European political parties such as D66 and Groen Links on the one hand and Eurosceptic and nationalistic political parties such as the SP and the PVV on the other hand. These political divisions are congruent with the division between higher and lower educated people. Currently, the educational division is implicit. A person’s level of education does not yet influence how citizens organise themselves, whereas religion, region or ethnicity overtly determine the collective forging of groups.
The inaugural lecture of Mr. Bovens can be read here (in Dutch).