18 April 2018 from 10:00 to 17:30

Interdisciplinary Symposium 'In- and exclusion; the Role of Institutions'

The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers of different disciplines to shed light on the role that institutions play in the inclusion and exclusion of individuals and groups in modern society.

Questions that are discussed include: Which roles have institutions and institutional change played over the last decades in the development of in- and exclusion? How do local governments use laws and regulations to either include or exclude refugees? How does the institutional setup of educational systems affect patterns of societal exclusion by socioeconomic background, ethnicity and gender? What role do the media play in the marginalization of women at all levels of society? And by which subtle psychological mechanisms are social inequalities between groups maintained?

This symposium will be especially of interest to scholars who want to discuss and learn about topics related to social inequality and social exclusion from multiple scientific perspectives.


10:00 – 10:30

Welcome with coffee and tea

10:30 – 10:40


10:40 – 11:30

Herman van de Werfhorst: Early tracking and social inequality in educational attainment: Educational reforms in 21 European countries

11:30 – 12:20

Rosemarie Buikema: Who owns the public sphere?

12:20 – 13:30


13:30 - 14:20

Barbara Oomen: Cities of refuge and cities that refuse

14:20 – 15:10

Colette van Laar: Understanding in- and exclusion: A social psychological approach to inequality

15:10 – 15:40

Tea and coffee

15:40 – 16:30

Kim Putters: An inclusive society: A cross-cutting perspective

16:30 - 16:40

Closing remarks

16:40 – 17:30


Herman van de Werfhorst: Early tracking and social inequality in educational attainment

Abstract: Europe is a natural laboratory of institutional effects in education because educational policy is the sole responsibility of national governments. One domain on which the educational institutional structure varies is the age at which students are sorted into different school careers. While some countries select students early and rigidly (for instance as early as the age of 10 in Germany with distinct schools from that age onwards), other systems offer untracked, comprehensive education until the age of 15 or 16 (e.g. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France). Moreover, reforms have taken place to postpone the moment of selection in a number of societies (e.g. in England, France, Finland, Sweden, Scotland), but not in others (the Netherlands, Flanders, Austria). Combining policy reform data covering educational systems since the 1940s-2000s with European Social Survey data, I study whether reforms towards later tracking have reduced inequalities by socioeconomic background in the likelihood to complete upper secondary education (i.e. a level of attainment that provides access to college) and final educational attainment.

Rosemarie Buikema: Who Owns the Public Sphere?

Abstract: Rosemarie Buikema will analyze the issue of building an inclusive society deploying the concept of representation as a double sided coin. She'll elaborate on the claim that in order for a society to be inclusive change should be implemented on both the institutional and the cultural level.

Colette van Laar: Understanding in- and exclusion

Abstract: When people think about in- and exclusion they usually think about how institutions or people directly include or exclude members of specific groups, such as women and minorities. Research from social psychology teaches us that a focus on these explicit and direct processes is much too simple of an understanding, that ignores much of the complex human cognition and behavior through which in- and exclusion takes place. These include both inadvertent automatic biases that exclude members of disadvantaged groups, as well as the effects of negative stereotyping, low expectations, prejudice and discrimination on the cognitions, affect, motivation and behaviors of women and minorities. This presentation will highlight some of the intricate and subtle ways in which social inequalities between groups are maintained. An understanding of these processes provides insights that help us address in- and exclusion in organizations and society at large.

Barbara Oomen: Cities of refuge and cities that refuse

Abstract: One of the striking aspects of the refugee influx in Europe over the past years has been the degree to which local authorities ‘decouple’ their policies of reception and integration from those held nationally. In this contribution, Barbara Oomen discusses the way in which local actors use laws and regulations to either include or exclude refugees, and the way in which this impacts upon their position.

Kim Putters: An inclusive society: A cross-cutting perspective

Abstract: Kim Putters discusses inclusion and exclusion in Dutch society in relation to the unequal division of four types of resources: human capital, economic capital, cultural capital and social capital.


This symposium is organized by the IOS stream ‘ Equality, Inclusiveness and Social Mobility’.


‘Institutions’ is one of the strategic themes of Utrecht University. At Utrecht University, scholars from the fields of economics, history, public administration, culture, law, sociology, social psychology, ethics, innovation studies, and geography join forces to find answers to urgent questions related to social, economic and political institutions.
Why do societies develop so divergently? And how do institutions contribute to the formation of open and sustainable societies? How can we create and reinforce robust, resilient, and inclusive democratic institutions?


Organising committee

Social and Behavioural Sciences - Psychology - Social, Health & Organizational Psychology
Social and Behavioural Sciences - Social Sciences - Sociology
Social and Behavioural Sciences - Social Sciences - Sociology
Law, Economics and Governance - Utrecht University School of Economics - Chair of Labour Economics
Start date and time
18 April 2018 10:00
End date and time
18 April 2018 17:30
Entrance fee