Worlds apart? Meanings of school in contrasting social environments

  • Maria Luísa Quaresma
  • Pedro Abrantes
  • João Teixeira Lopes


Based on two recent researches, our article compares the meanings of school, in two elitist private schools and in seven socially unprivileged areas, included in the national program Educational Territories of Priority Intervention. Through case studies, the local definitions of the situation are sketched, as the result of a negotiation between schools’ policies, families’ strategies, teachers’ practices and youth cultures. The differential modes of combining daily experiences and future projects are focused. The main conclusion is that, although the inclusion in the same educational system and its common centrality in young people’s lives, schooling in these contexts is characterized not only by the inequality of academic results, but also of socialization aims, processes and models.