Lenkewitz, Sven (2023). Social Networks, School Segregation, and Educational Inequality. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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The reproduction of educational and social inequality is a longstanding societal as well as scientific concern. While an abundance of research established the relevance of individuals’ social origin for their educational career, how social networks relate to the reproduction of educational inequality demands further attention. This dissertation, therefore, investigates how social relationships—and the embedded social capital—between adolescents and parents are connected to socioeconomic inequalities in educational outcomes. This dissertation approaches the issue from two angles. Firstly, educational inequality can be linked to the resources (i.e. social capital) individuals have in their personal networks. Secondly, educational inequality can be found in the way social capital helps an individual to improve their educational outcomes, for example, in terms of better school grades or a higher educational degree. Both of these aspects—differential social capital access and differential returns to social capital—may be related to educational inequality between different socioeconomic groups. The results of this dissertation show that social relationships can mitigate inequality in educational outcomes. Socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents benefit more from the social capital they access than their more advantaged counterparts, which reduces the gap in educational outcomes between these social groups. This finding can be explained because most socioeconomically advantaged adolescents already have a rather good starting position and better educational prospects. Hence, when the defaults are academically ambitious decisions or rather good school grades, there is little room for improving these outcomes via social capital. Adolescents from less advantaged households, on the other hand, can benefit from their social capital. Social capital may provide them with resources they do not have (at home), such as information about educational choices, knowledge about the school system, pro-school norms, or help with homework. However, while social capital seems to be particularly worthwhile for disadvantaged adolescents, results highlighted that these students have worse chances of accessing social capital than their advantaged counterparts due to school and social network segregation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Lenkewitz, Svenlenkewitz@posteo.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-717511
Date: 2023
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Management, Economy and Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology and Social Psychology > Department of Scociology
Subjects: Social sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Educational inequalityEnglish
Social capitalEnglish
Social networksEnglish
Educational outcomesEnglish
School segregationEnglish
Date of oral exam: 22 August 2023
NameAcademic Title
Kroneberg, ClemensProf. Dr.
Jacob, MaritaProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/71751


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