The role of education in social transformation processes: the example of Bolivarian Venezuela

In this Centre for International Education Research seminar, Margarita Langthaler, Austrian Foundation for Development, will focus on the role of education in the Bolivarian process in Venezuela. Analysis will be informed by a perspective of social reproduction through education based on Bourdieu’s thinking as well as on a Gramscian perspective of cultural hegemony.

Education has been attributed a key role in the Bolivarian process, which, in 2000 started as a project of social redistribution and subsequently developed into a broad economic, social and democratic transformation process. Following President Chavez’ death in 2013, the process has been in severe turmoil.

After an initial phase of educational expansion, in 2005 state policy introduced Bolivarian schools and universities aiming at gradually establishing an alternative education system. While participation rates have substantially increased, attempts to curtail the elitist education system have been aborted due to severe social conflicts. Eventually, the traditional system continues to socially reproduce the traditional elites. Official and grassroots education practices have been more successful at the level of cultural hegemony. The concept of Bolivarian education has challenged the elites’ power of definition over education helping the emergence of new social values, attitudes and behaviours.

Free, all welcome. To attend, please email

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