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 22: Returns to adult education and inequality: a life course perspective

Felix Weiss


This chapter discusses the impact of adult education and training on career mobility and educational inequality. The chapter summarizes the different aspects that need to be understood in order to evaluate the role of adult education and training in the status attainment process and for intergenerational educational inequality, paying special attention to the embeddedness of adult education in the life course. While many empirical studies highlight one particular research question, such as the intra-life-course effects of adult education and training or a comparison of adult education to educational attainment during the initial training phase, this chapter tries to provide a broader overview of these different elements and illustrate how they are connected. A number of methodological issues are raised that can have a major impact on the conclusions of empirical studies.

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