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After the Fall of the WallLife Courses in the Transformation of East Germany$
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Martin Diewald, Anne Goedicke, and Karl Ulrich Mayer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804752084

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804752084.001.0001

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The Rise of Meritocracy? Class Mobility in East Germany Before and After 1989

The Rise of Meritocracy? Class Mobility in East Germany Before and After 1989

(p.140) Chapter Seven The Rise of Meritocracy? Class Mobility in East Germany Before and After 1989
After the Fall of the Wall
Heike Solga
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines class structure and class mobility in East Germany before and after 1989, paying special attention to the changing role of political capital. It follows two analytical perspectives: social mobility as a process of transformation of the class structure; and the life course as a process of continuity or discontinuity in class membership. The GDR started with some opening of the class structure and ended with a quite closed mobility regime. The gap between the top and the bottom increased over the generations as the social structure became politically entrenched. Access to the upper service class was increasingly restricted to university graduates, and educational opportunities in general were differentially distributed according to social origin and political loyalty.

Keywords:   East Germany, German class structure, political capital, life course, social mobility

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