Projektinhalt

To what extent and under what circumstances do immigrants who immigrate to Germany as adults participate in education? The project seeks to analyze individual, social, and structural determinants as well as subjective sense-making on the part of individuals on the one hand as well as institutional regulations and practices of inclusion and exclusion on the other. Hence, the project is dedicated to a core question of the sociology of inequality: the interaction of self-selection and selection by social institutions, investigated with reference to educational disparities between adult immigrants in their transnational life courses. Secondary and tertiary formal education as well as non-formal professional training are of interest because, broadly speaking, education attained in the host country boosts the chances of immigrants to find employment and qualified jobs in particular. Given that adult immigrants on average participate less often in education than their native peers in Germany, the project aims at a detailed intra-group comparison among immigrants. The research design combines quantitative and qualitative methods as well as institutional analysis. First, secondary analysis based on the study of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) on adults explores the extent and kind of educational participation in a broad historical perspective based on retrospective longitudinal life-course data. Second, analyses of the Panel Labor Market and Social Security (PASS) focus on unemployed immigrants and government-sponsored training and education. Third, immigrants whose academic credentials were not recognized by German institutions will be interviewed and those who participate in formal or non-formal education in Germany are compared to those who do not. This qualitative study will shed light on subjective interpretations of immigrants regarding their paths to educational (non-)participation. The question how immigrants deal with the potential tension between the experience of devaluation of their foreign diplomas and the accumulation of new native cultural capital is of particular interest. Fourth, analyses of legal regulations in the education system, in immigration law and active labor-market policieswill help to detect mechanisms of selection by host-country institutions. Expert interviews with institutional actors of state-run job centers, counseling services, and educational organizations will form the basis for an analysis of practices of institutional selection.