This study aims to.draw attention to national minorities as a distinct group from immigrants. Additionally, it attempts. to introduce a global perspective on national minorities, with specific reference to Hungarians in Central Europe. There are no sociological theories addressing the issue of national minorities in the area of education; it is argued here that theories relating.to immigrants might be a useful starting point. For example, Ogbu's distinction' between 'voluntary' and 'involuntary' minorities is applicable to the distinction between immigrants and national minorities. Using empirical evidence, from a nationally representative survey carried out in the Carpathian-basin, I find little support for Ogbu's thesis. Analysis of the data indicates significant variation between the autochthonous minorities examined in the study which questions whether it is appropriate to generalize on the basis of voluntarity alone. Additionally, empirical analysis specifically on Hungarians does not support Ogbu's thesis. 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 narrowing.
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