Research Handbook on the Sociology of Education
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Research Handbook on the Sociology of Education

Edited by Rolf Becker

Presenting original contributions from the key experts in the field, the Research Handbook on the Sociology of Education explores the major theoretical, methodological, empirical and political challenges and pressing social questions facing education in current times.
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Chapter 10: Educational expansion and inequalities: how did inequalities by social originand gender decrease in modern industrial societies?

Andreas Hadjar


This chapter conceptually and empirically considers how educational inequalities by social origin and gender, as well as those at the intersection of both, changed during the educational expansion that had its major boost in the 1960s. The process of educational expansion has been initiated by educational reforms and is characterized by an enhancement and an increase in the size of educational systems, an increase in educational opportunities and a rising demand for education. While in some parts of the political sphere, reducing educational inequalities was one of the major aims of educational reforms intended to increase the size of the education system, the empirical reality of the changing educational inequalities is rather ambiguous. While gender differences in educational attainment decreased strongly and were even reversed, particularly in secondary education, educational inequalities related to social origin, namely disadvantages for working class students, did not decrease to the desired extent.

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