Diverging Pathways: Social Structure and Career Deflections

Diverging Pathways follows the careers of a British birth cohort into early adulthood, presenting a detailed picture of the family backgrounds and the school and early labour force achievements of the cohort. The study portrays how the social arrangements of society’s institutions deflect people’s achievement patterns. Different kinds of schools, ability groups within schools, and differences between industries and firms lead comparable individuals to achieve at very different levels in society and the book shows that the cumulative effects of being placed in advantaged or disadvantaged locations make their achievements highly divergent in adulthood. The study reports on major career differences between men and women and describes how the interface between post-secondary education and the labour force alters some of the outcomes of elementary and secondary schooling.

• Shows how early social and educational advantages can be deflected by later experience in the work place • Follows the careers of a 1958 British birth cohort to the age of 23 • Should be of interest to sociologists, psychologists (social and developmental) and education specialists


List of tables and figures; Foreword James S. Coleman; Preface; 1. Institutional structure and achievement; 2. Tracing a British birth cohort; 3. Elementary school: the opening wedge; 4. Secondary school: increased dispersion; 5. Alternative pathways after secondary school; 6. Randomization and consolidation in the labour force; 7. Structural linkages, careers and career lines; 8. The cumulative effects of structure; 9. Structural differentiation: necessary evil or policy instrument?; Appendix: description of variables; Notes; References; Subject index.