Derron Wallace, "The Culture Trap: Ethnic Expectations and Unequal Schooling for Black Youth" (Oxford UP, 2023)


How does race matter in schools? In The Culture Trap: Ethnic Expectations and Unequal Schooling for Black Youth (Oxford UP, 2023), Derron Wallace, the Jacob S. Potofsky Chair in Sociology at Brandeis University, tells the contrasting stories of two schools in the UK and USA. The book demonstrates two very different sets of expectations for Black youth in the two countries schools, and two very different educational and social structures reinforcing these expectations. The book draws on a rich ethnographically informed narrative, which centres teachers’ and students’ understandings and experiences of education. In doing so, the book challenges ‘cultural’ explanations for failures and successes in the two schools, and the two countries. Demonstrating both the socially constructed nature of race in the UK and USA, and the racism at the centre of both educational systems, the book is essential reading across the social sciences, humanities and for anyone interested in schools, education, and social change.

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