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Prof Jan Germen Janmaat
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
20 Bedford Way
Prof Jan Germen Janmaat profile picture
  • Professor of Political Socialization
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

My career in academia started with a PhD project on Post-Soviet Ukraine at the University of Amsterdam where I also completed an MA in Human Geography. In this project I explored what nation-building policies the Ukrainian authorities were pursuing in education and how the Russian minority in the different parts of Ukraine responded to these policies. It signalled my interest, from very early on, in the attempts by governments to mould the identities and values of young people through public education. This has been a constant and defining feature of my research throughout my academic career. 

The Post Doc position at the IOE in 2003 allowed me to publish from my PhD research and establish a profile as an expert in the field of ethnic politics and identity formation. I was successful in obtaining a 2 year Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for a project on education and identity formation in post-communist countries. This project resulted not only in numerous publications (such as articles in History of Education, Comparative Education and Nationalities Papers) but also in a guest editorship of a special issue on education and identity formation in Eastern Europe and Asia for Compare and in a special BAICE conference on this topic. During my time as post doc I broadened my interests to themes such as civic culture, social cohesion, diversity and inequality and began to investigate these themes quantitatively and comparatively, inspired by the research of Andy Green and other colleagues at the IOE. This new direction and approach culminated in publications in prestigious journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies (73 citations in Google Scholar), Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and International Journal of Comparative Sociology and the co-authored book Education, Equality and Social Cohesion. 

During a brief stint as researcher at the Dept of Sociology of the Free University in Amsterdam I continued my cooperation with Andy Green and contributed to drafting the successful bid for the ESRC-funded LLAKES research centre. Once back at the IOE as Senior Lecturer in 2008 I continued to work on the themes developed during my post doc years and assumed an active role within LLAKES. This first phase of LLAKES proved crucial for the consolidation of my academic reputation as it allowed me to improve my quantitative methodological skills and continue to publish in esteemed journals, such as Social Indicators Research, Comparative Education Review (40 citations in Google Scholar) and British Educational Research Journal. Together with Andy Green I published Regimes of Social Cohesion, a book that contributed valuable insights from comparative political economy to the field of social cohesion studies. 

Since becoming a Reader in comparative social science in October 2011 I concentrated my research more narrowly on the role of education in fostering civic values. Since then I managed to attract funding (the BA Mid-Career Fellowship), improve my skills in analysing longitudinal data and publish in high-ranking journals. I assumed leading roles in the LLAKES research center and in the journal Compare: A Journal of International and Comparative Education. I am regularly asked to review research proposals by different domestic and foreign funding organisations. 

Research Summary

My research focuses on the role of education in promoting civic values, a catch-all term that includes outcomes such as tolerance, trust and political engagement. I’m interested in all aspects of education that can contribute to these outcomes. Aspects that I have explored extensively over the last years include school social and ethnic composition, the curriculum, distinct pedagogies and educational tracking. My work on the impact of classroom ethnic diversity on young people’s attitudes on immigrants has been widely published in esteemed journals and has attracted considerable attention in the media and from policy circles. Together with colleagues Avril Keating and Bryony Hoskins I explored how other educational conditions relate to political engagement. Are schools that allow students to participate in decision-making and ensure open discussions of political and social issues fostering a disposition to participate later in life? Is the practice of allocating student to different tracks (academic and vocational) on the basis of ability exacerbating inequalities in political engagement? Does citizenship education help to mitigate social disparities in civic and political participation? These are important questions in view of the lagging levels of political engagement among young people, particularly in the United Kingdom.

In 2019 I published the book "Education, Democracy and Inequality" (co-authored with Bryony Hoskins), which synthesizes the research on these questions. It explores the educational conditions that either reduce or magnify social inequalities in political engagement and assess these conditions for different educational phases (lower secondary, upper secondary and higher/adult education).

Building on the key theme of this book, I developed a research proposal on post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement. This proposal was successful in attracting funding from Nuffield (£116,606). The project will start in April 2020 and will end in September 2022. It includes partners at the University of Southampton (Nicola Pensiero) and at Roehampton University (Bryony Hoskins).

My research is of clear policy relevance as it speaks directly to the Fundamental British Values (FBV) initiative of the UK government. This policy was introduced in the Autumn of 2014 as part of the Prevent Strategy which aims to counter and thwart radicalization among young people. The government considers these values to be “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance” and obliged schools to actively promote them. Using the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS), I explored actual levels of support for these values among young adults and the educational conditions influencing such support. I found that educational tracking in upper secondary has a profound effect on endorsement of these values with students in vocational tracks showing significantly lower levels of support. I reported these findings in a paper that has been published in the British Educational Research Journal (2018; pp 251-273).

Teaching Summary

Here I provide a list of the modules I currently lead or contribute to or have led and contributed to, in my capacity as core teaching staff of the MA in Comparative Education (MACE). 

2020-present: MA module 'Education, Values and Identities' (IOE) [module leader]. I developed this optional module in 2018 and it was approved in February 2019 by the Programme and Module Approval Group. The module allows me to draw optimally on my research expertise. It will examine how states from different world regions use education to promote distinct values and identities. It will also explore how effective education is in promoting these outcomes. The module will run in the Summer term of 2019-20 for the first time.

2020-present: MA module 'Introduction to Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences' [co-module leader; together with Fiona Victory]. This new Spring term module was originally developed by Nicola Pensiero who is now based at Southampton University.  The module familiarizes students with the most commonly used statistical methods and software in education and the social sciences more broadly. It includes many practical exercises enabling students to become skilled in using statistical software such as SPSS.

2009- present:MA module ‘Minorities, Migrants and Refugees in National Education Systems’ (IOE) [module leader until 2019; Victory Showunmi is the present module leader]. I took over this optional module linked to the MA in Comparative Education from Euan Reid and completely redeveloped it. It allowed me to integrate my expertise on nationalism and nation-building and my more recent work on the effects of school ethnic composition in my teaching, thus ensuring research-informed education. 

2008-present:MA module ‘Theories and Methods of Comparative Education’ (IOE) [module leader until 2019; Susanne Wiborg is the present module leader]. This is the core module of the MA in Comparative Education. It introduces students to the development of the academic discipline, key theories and debates, comparative thinking and various methodological approaches. It thus provides foundational knowledge for the whole MA. I have led this module since 2012 and have regularly rearranged the sessions and developed a highly appreciated set of guidelines for the written assignment. 

2008-present:  MA module ‘Educational Traditions and Systems in Europe’ (IOE). I contribute to this module with two sessions and have led the module in 2011 and 2012. This module is one of the two semi-compulsory modules of the MA in Comparative Education (students have to either choose this or the Education and Development in Asia module) and is acquainting students with the histories and distinct features of different national education systems and to comparative research looking at a variety of themes relevant for European education.

2009-present:  Doctoral school module ‘Framing a Thesis Comparatively’ (IOE) [Module leader]. This optional module familiarises PhD students with various comparative approaches and methodologies, ranging from the qualitative case-study-based to the quantitative variable-oriented ones. Under my leadership this module has gradually expanded the number of sessions and offers PhD students and other early career researchers good opportunities to gain experience in post-graduate teaching.

01-OCT-2020 Professor in political socialization Education, Practice and Society UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
20-OCT-2011 – 30-SEP-2020 Reader in comparative social science Education, Practice and Society UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2008 – 19-OCT-2011 Senior Lecturer in Comparative Social Science Lifelong Education and International Development Institute of Education, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2006 – 31-DEC-2007 Researcher (part time) Department of Sociology Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
15-SEP-2005 – 14-SEP-2007 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow Lifelong Education and International Development Institute of Education, United Kingdom
01-DEC-2003 – 31-AUG-2005 Post Doctoral Fellow Lifelong Education and International Development Institute of Education, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2000   Doctor Universiteit van Amsterdam
1994   Master Universiteit van Amsterdam
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