Attending school. Social mobility of Second-Generation Turkish Immigrants in cross-national perspective.

Philipp Schnell receives a grant in the frame of an international Research Training Network.

1.4.2007 - 31.10.2009 at the Institute for european Integration Research.
Since 1.11.2009 at the Institute of Cultural Sciences and History of Theatre.

Children of post-war immigrants are leaving school and entering the labour market in increasing numbers in most of the Western European countries. Their opportunities and achievements within the countries are often regarded as the “litmus test” for integration and for the success and failure of policies in this field. The key arena in which to examine the integration of immigrant youth is educational attainment and achievement. Educational attainment of the second generation students is an important determinant of their subsequent life chances. Nevertheless, education can be seen as a “double-edged sword” in the stratification process. On the one hand, education is an important road for social mobility of second generation adolescents raised in families that were mainly recruited in order to work in lower labour market segments. On the other hand, scholars studying social stratification claim that education contributes to the transmission of inequality between generations since it is unequally distributed between strata. This dissertation project argues that which of these factors outweighs the other depends on the extent to which educational attainment is affected by the characteristics of social origin. Therefore, a central question concerns the conditions to which education serves as an avenue for social mobility of second generation Turks. What factors explain different mobility outcomes of second generation Turkish adolescents across European countries?

In order to explore this central question, the project looks at the social mobility process of second generation Turkish immigrants and their school careers in Austria, France and Sweden. These countries are chosen because they represent a ‘most different’ case study design, i.e. these countries seem different to the degree of stratification in the educational system. Empirically, three levels are analyzed: Firstly, the ways in which educational disadvantages are transmitted across generations will be carried out by analyzing factors on the individual and family level of second generation Turkish immigrants. Secondly, an empirical examination of institutional school effects for second generation Turkish immigrants will be included. Finally, given that most of the social mobility research is done within single countries, the framework of a cross-national comparison will contribute to the current ‘contextual debate’ by analyzing varying policy fields that serve as an explanation for cross-national variations (i.e. integration, education and welfare policies). The empirical analysis will be based upon the international “TIES” survey which was conducted in 2007.

Supervisors: Rinus Penninx, Maurice Crul, Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger