Julia Nast was the first candidate to be awarded the Peter Meusburger Doctoral Prize ‘Geography and Knowledge’ on December 6, 2019. For the award ceremony, former students, friends and relatives of Peter Meusburger gathered in Heidelberg.
Julia Nast convinced the selection committee with her outstanding PhD thesis entitled ‘Organisational Neighbourhood Inequality: Organisational Habitus and Practices in Primary Schools in Deprived and Privileged Neighbourhoods’. The dissertation was prepared as a joint PhD at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and King’s College London. With her published book, Julia Nast made an original and very valuable contribution to the research in geography of education. Moreover, she has combined international mobility with interdisciplinary cooperation and a strong transdisciplinary commitment.
In her dissertation Julia Nast explores how public organizations contribute to social inequality between neighborhoods. With a focus on elementary schools, she argues that neighborhood settings are not only relevant for what children learn inside and outside of school, but that they also shape the ways how schools operate and what particular services they provide. The empirical basis of the PhD thesis consists of ethnographic data and in-depth interviews conducted with teachers and parents in two elementary schools in Berlin – one of them located in a deprived and the other in a privileged neighborhood. In her theoretical framework, Julia Nast draws upon Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of field, habitus and practice together with elements of new institutional theory.