Ethnic Inequalities in the Education System in Northwestern Europe

Conference Paper to be presented by Céline Teney

Céline Teney is Junior Research Group Leader at the Centre for Social Policy Research at the University of Bremen. Previously, she held positions at the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre and the Université libre de Bruxelles. Her research interests cover the sociology of immigration, the sociology of the EU, political sociology and quantitative methodology.

Since the post-1945 period, northwestern European countries have attracted important labour-motivated immigration waves. The so-called guestworkers who immigrated in the ’60s and ’70s composed a large low-skilled labour force for most of the northwestern European countries. Meanwhile, the second and third generations of this immigration wave constitute a non-negligible segment of the population. Since second and third generations of immigrants have been entirely socialized in the receiving societies, one should expect them to benefit from the same opportunities in education and on the labour market as the population without an immigrant background. However, equal opportunity is far from being the case. Ethnic inequalities in the education system and on the labour market are indeed important challenges for the successful incorporation of immigrants and their offspring in the receiving societies. Ethnic educational inequalities, in turn, have been receiving increasing attention from the scientific community. In this presentation, I will briefly describe the inequalities in education faced by the children of former guestworkers. I will then discuss some of the possible causes leading to these ethnic inequalities.


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