Tomorrow’s inequalities in the making: Processes of life chance differentiation within and outside of education (LIFECHANCES)

The wider processes that shape young people’s life chances are still poorly understood in the Norwegian context. From a societal perspective, it is crucial to understand how, when and why differentiations of life paths become inequalities in life chances and what role educational institutions and structures play in the process, especially in a time with increasing economic and social inequalities.

However, there is a lack of processual and contextual knowledge about tomorrow’s inequalities in the making. Large-scale qualitative and quantitative longitudinal data are needed. Using such data, LIFECHANCES will investigate what characterises the different pathways youths take through education and beyond, what critical events and factors shape them and the consequences of different pathways.

The study is in an unparalleled position to answer these questions as it combines the longitudinal qualitative dataset Inequality in Youth, register data, the full cohort cross-sectional survey data Ungdata and the International civic and citizenship study (ICCS).

We start in WP1 by identifying common pathways through the education system and the critical events through which dreams and imagined futures regarding education are shaped.

In WP2, we broaden the perspective looking simultaneously within and outside of the education system to identify diverging paths of belonging during youth, exploring differently positioned youths’ visions of meaningful lives and the investments needed to make them happen.

In WP3, we investigate how trusting the educational system and other social institutions may be a critical factor for life chances, how trust is shaped by school factors and consequences of different paths of trust in youth. Throughout the project we identify patterns related to social class, gender, ethnicity and place. The highly qualified research group consists of youth scholars and class and education sociologists with strong track records in their respective fields.