Author: Adél PÁSZTOR
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  • European University Institute,The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies I -50016 San Domenico di Fiesole (Florence), Villa La Fonte / Via delle Fontanelle 20, Italy
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The aim of this study is to draw attention to national minorities as a group distinct from immigrants. Additionally, it attempts to introduce a global perspective on national minorities, specifically on Hungarians in Central Europe, where, instead of concentrating on the respective countries separately, it adopts a comparative approach. As there are no specific theories addressing the issue of national minorities from the educational point of view, immigrant theories might be a useful starting point. For example, Ogbu's categorization of minorities on the basis of voluntariness (free will) allows us to distinguish between immigrants and national minorities as two distinct categories. The applicability of Ogbu's theory on national minorities gives us a good opportunity to test the utility of his thesis in European context. Using empirical evidence from a nationally representative survey carried out in the Carpathian Basin I find little support for Ogbu's thesis. According to the data, there is a high discrepancy between the autochthonous minorities examined in the study which questions the possibility of generalisation of minorities based solely on voluntariness. Additionally, the empirical analysis testing Ogbu's concept on the example of Hungarians does not favour the thesis of oppositional culture. The Hungarian national minority as an involuntary group is not significantly disadvantaged with respect to educational attainment (with the exception of Slovakia). On the contrary, they seem to catch up with the majority i.e. the gap between majority and minority appears to be closing.

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