Department of Government

Marcus Österman defends his thesis on 15 December

2017-11-17

Marcus Österman defends his thesis "Education, Stratification and Reform: Educational Institutions in Comparative Perspective" on 15 December at 13:15 in Bruzewitzsalen (Östra Ågatan 19). 

The external reviewer is Professor Jan Teorell, Lund University.
The examiner is Professor Christina Bergqvist, Department of Government, Uppsala University
The other members of the examining committee are: Professor Carl Dahlström, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg and Associate Professor Anna Sjögren, Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

Marcus Österman

Education, Stratification and Reform: Educational Institutions in Comparative Perspective

Marcus Österman

The interest in education and the recognition of its perennial role in modern society have long been a part of social science.  However, education is typically treated as an individual characteristic that may be summarized by years of educational attainment or educational degrees. The institutions that govern education are usually left out of the picture. This thesis argues that we have to take the institutional character of education seriously. That is, the rules and organization of education is an important aspect of the study of education. Only by taking these institutions into account, can we fully understand the effects of education and, for instance, separate effects of educational attainment from institutional effects.

This thesis in particular focuses on the institution of tracking. Tracking is the practice of separating pupils or students into different programmes or schools depending mainly on their study performance. The argument of the thesis may be illustrated by one of the included essay that focuses on the influence of education on social trust. It differs from previous studies on the topic by differentiating the effects of decreased tracking in education from the effects of extended compulsory schooling; thereby pinpointing the difference between institutional effects through tracking from effects depending on the length of education.

Moreover, this thesis stresses that the design of educational institutions brings political questions regarding social stratification and equality of opportunity to a head. Educational policy affects fundamental societal questions regarding equality, social cohesion and the functioning of the labour market.  This thesis consists of an introductory essay and three empirical essays. In the empirical essays the author investigates how educational institutions affect social equality and social trust as well as the role of partisan politics for the development of educational institutions.

Forthcoming Public Defences