Quotation Downes, Paul, Anderson, Jim, Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2018. Conclusion: Developing conceptual understandings of transitions and policy implications. European Journal of Education. 53 (4), 541-556.




Transition requires a multidimensional, interdisciplinary approach for its re‐conceptualisation to bring to the fore systemic and power related concerns affecting marginalised and vulnerable groups. This concluding article examines the special issue articles through a range of perspectives. These include examining transitions through a hermeneutics of suspicion, as a mask to displace focus away from other issues of system blockages and failures, building on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and Bourdieu’s symbolic violence and cultural capital. A distinctive focus on spatial systems as concentric relational spaces contrasted with fragmented, hierarchical diametric spatial systems is applied to transitions. This goes beyond conventional spatial assumptions of transition as a “bridge”. Temporal assumptions underpinning transitions are explored to challenge one directional approaches, while key issues of marginalised students’ and parents’ voices are highlighted. Intersectionality theory is invoked to examine the interplay between issues of social class, ethnicity, gender in the special issue articles. Building on the special issue articles’ qualitative and quantitative research findings, key policy conclusions for transitions are identified. These include the need to promote relational spaces, increase system capacity, develop flexible nonlinear pathways, address structural segregation issues, and recognise that formal equality principles are insufficient for a culturally responsive approach to transitions. These policy conclusions regarding transitions are relevant for the multiple educational domains explored, ranging from early childhood, primary, postprimary, through to access to university and the labour market. They go beyond typical transition policy responses of induction days, information transfer, staff and interinstitutional communication, and curricular bridging approaches.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal European Journal of Education
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Conclusion: Developing conceptual understandings of transitions and policy implications
Volume 53
Number 4
Year 2018
Page from 541
Page to 556
Reviewed? Y
URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ejed.12305
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12305
Open Access N


Nairz, Erna (Details)
Anderson, Jim (Faculty of Education, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Downes, Paul (Educational Disadvantage Centre, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland)
Education Sciences Group AB (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5403 Educational sociology (Details)
5405 Empirical social research (Details)
5803 Educational research (Details)
5808 University didactics (Details)
5815 Theoretical pedagogy (Details)
5817 Comparative educational science (Details)
5821 Adult education (Details)
5952 Migration research, emigration -, (Details)
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