Social inequality in Israel's education system has often been analysed with top-down structural models. This study inquires, instead, how students understand their position in the stratified structure of opportunities at school. Our quantitative and qualitative data, gathered in Jewish high schools in Israel, indicate that, despite clear ethno-class distribution in academic tracking, students reject the logic of identity politics and consider 'free will' to be the main factor determining tracking. In light of the Jewish-Israeli national identity, which rejects class and ethnic divides, the reference point for the system of classification at school shifts to the autonomous individual. Our findings show that students use consumerist and psychological discourses to dismantle ethno-class identities and depoliticize the classification system at school.
- Academic tracking
- High schools