Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Umschlag des Auswahlbandes

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Key Project

Project Director

Prof. Dr. Werner Helsper (i)
Prof. Dr. Heinz-Hermann Krüger (i)

Research Associates

Jasmin Lüdemann M.A. (i) and Heiko Kastner M.A. (i)

Associated collaboration

Dr. Ulrike Deppe (i)

Student Assistants

Thomas  Voigt


Our research unit adopts an innovative approach that combines micro-analytical qualitative studies with discourse analysis. The aim is to apply research results to two large-scale surveys on institutions and actors in the area of exclusive educational establishments and their target audience. The concept of elite education mechanisms will enable us to connect macro-sociological theories and diagnoses of educational change with theoretical positions in practice-, interaction- and actor-centred approaches. We thereby tie in with the idea of hierarchical and verticalizing systems among institutions of education at the same level, such as those in kindergartens, secondary schools or universities, all of which call for critical verification and the differentiation of their spheres of influence.

The central task of the key project is to connect the content and results of sub-projects at the level of these mechanisms. In addition to coordinating comparison of the individual sub-projects, the key project will answer five principal research questions:

  1. How popular are outgoing discourses on excellence in the system of higher education for the semantics of educational policy reforms in other areas and levels of the education system?
  2. Is it possible to create a typology of exclusive educational institutions from elementary to higher education in this context? The institutional self and other attributes of prestigious educational institutions in the tip region will be explored in sub-projects 2-6 and compared in terms of homogeneity.
  3. How do normative concepts and interpretations relate to excellence in    communication, the educational strategies of parents from higher social milieus with children of pre- and elementary school age, and the     educational biographical drafts of young people in the exclusive     educational institutions at various levels of the education system? In     what practices of distinction and consistency manufacturing are they     involved?
  4. How are the educational careers of young people in exclusive schools and the transition to higher education or professions configured? What    socialization contexts, including peer cultures, govern successful and     failed educational careers?
  5. What access and selection criteria are management staff and/or professionals attuned to in "elite kindergartens", excellent primary schools, secondary schools with various claims of exclusivity and elite secondary schools when it comes to selecting the best? What mechanisms of distinction and consistency manufacturing are incorporated into previously unexplored input and transitional selections, as well as other institutional practices and organizational arrangements, and what are the underlying normative ideas?