Educational Advancement in Three Generations: East and West Germany in Comparison
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Miethe1 & Regina Soremski M.A.

Our article presents some of the key findings of a qualitative study that is based on biographical interviews to investigate three generations of first generation students in East and West Germany since the Second World War. Focusing on the influence of political and societal conditions on individual upward mobility through education, we developed a conceptional framework that combines Pierre Bourdieu’s theory with the concept of political opportunity structure by Sidney Tarrow. This combined theoretical approach enables us to investigate the dynamics of fostering mobility by creating access to higher education. These dynamics can be described as typical opportunity structures which we explain in the article. Another important result refers to seven different structural elements that are favorable to educational advancement, e.g. changes in habitus through education, institutional incentives or a broad positive public discourse. These structural elements we could find across the different types and individual cases. Finally, that enables us to connect our findings to an international discourse on first generation students, social inequality, and higher education.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v5n4a6