Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Negotiating the Progressive Paradox: Middle‐Class Parents in Majority–Minority Primary Schools in Amsterdam

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Abstract:  Across Western Europe, progressive issues take centre stage within integration debates and discourse. This article addresses the paradox middle‐class progressives get caught up in when arguing for openness towards diversity, while also expecting adaptation to the progressive “modern” norm on sexuality, especially from Muslim Others. Going beyond existing literature, this article demonstrates the understudied manifestations of this paradox in everyday life, within a diverse majority–minority primary school context in Amsterdam. Taking sex education as a case, the authors reveal three different approaches—confrontational, continued discussion, and compromise—with which middle‐class parents without a migration background negotiate difference, each emphasizing different aspects of the paradox. The results show how, despite being a local numerical minority, progressive parents still enact their power position at large arguing for (gradual) adaptation to “modernity.” However, some parents provide solutions to difference that move away from consensus and envision a future that allows for multiple norms to exist.

Keywords:  integration; majority–minority; sex education; time politics



© Josje Schut, Maurice Crul. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.