A2 Spheres of Societal Integration: Family, Education, and Labour Markets

Research Area A2 addresses three major societal spheres and their effects on processes of social stratification: the family, the education system and the labour market. Taken together, these spheres shape the way in which social positions and life chances are distributed within a society and mediate the degree to which specific social groups are being exposed to life course risks and insecurities.

They thus inherently affect the nature and dynamics of social inequality structures within Europe: Labour markets provide access to key goods, such as prestige and income; education systems equip individuals with the necessary skills, qualifications and competencies for future placement on labour markets; family patterns act as an important mediator by which structural opportunities and disadvantages are shared and transmitted from one generation to another.
 The projects in this area frequently follow a micro-analytical strategy building on national or cross-national individual data. Most projects explicitly take a longitudinal perspective and use panel data in order to detect the causality relations within micro social processes. At the same time, the research projects often establish systematic macro-micro linkages by relating developments at the individual level to institutional determinants at the nation-state level. The explicit cross-national comparative approach, taken by a number of the projects, additionally allows to study the differential effects of varying institutional arrangements on crucial status transitions over the life course.