Education and Social Participation
This field of research focuses on the relationship between education and social inequality from the perspectives of social science and educational research.
From a social science perspective, the focus lies on the analysis of educational inequalities. This implies inquiring about the intergenerational mobility of educational attainments and social status, the dynamics of educational inequality during the life-course, and the exact diffusion mechanisms of inequality. Further attention is given to the accumulation and consolidation of social disadvantages, since inadequate educational profiles are often related to discrimination and marginalization in other areas of life. This raises the question how the accumulation of disadvantages can be addressed through advanced labour market policies, educational policies and social policies. Also the role of international organizations such as the EU and the OECD is a crucial question in this context.
From an educational science perspective, the focus lies on the analysis of the permeability and inclusiveness of the education system. This includes special attention to institutional and structural barriers within the education system that foster selectivity, drop-out and a low participation of under-represented, marginalized and special-needs groups. Also of interest are the structures, processes and effects of educational policies and pedagogical interventions seeking to improve educational participation as well as the inclusiveness and quality of the education system. Regarding secondary education, we ask how successful educational biographies, educational processes and transitions can be promoted among children and youth, alongside personal and social skills. Regarding tertiary education, we focus on the outcomes of federal programs aiming to ease transitions between vocational and higher education and to reduce drop-out rates in higher education.
The two perspectives, which were hitherto pursued in several independent large-scale research projects, have recently been brought under a single umbrella in an application for a new graduate school. In the future, the existing cooperation is to be deepened in joint national and international collaborative research projects.