23 SES 09 D, Elite Education: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives within Different European Countries (Part 1)
Symposium: to be continued in 23 SES 10 D
Drawing on the “Mechanisms of Elite Formation in the German Educational System” Research Unit projects, the paper examines elite education and formation in Germany. Germany does not have a recent history of elite educational institutions in the schooling or higher education sectors. Within such an historical context the main questions the paper will examine are: What are the societal and historical path dependencies and conditions forming the particular, almost invisible processes of elite formation in the German education system? How is elite education organized through institutional activities? Which legitimating patterns are existing? The pathways of vertical differentiation occurring in Germany’s secondary and tertiary education will be examined. In a second step, the paper will outline a framework for understanding “mechanisms of elite formation”, and draw on this with recently-collected data examining family educational choice practices and institutional recruitment processes. Methods/methodology The paper draws on a qualitative study looking at different mechanisms of elite construction: the choice of educational institution, the institution's recruitment of applicants, and processes of distinction and constructions of coherence. Expected outcomes/results The paper develops an understanding for how and why Germany is beginning to move towards an elite education system within the secondary and tertiary sectors.
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