Education and Social Inequality

The Standing Committee Education and Social Inequality aims at stimulating international comparative research on the intersections between education, (international) mobility and social inequality. It combines the research interests and experiences of two previous research clusters: the Standing Committee on Education & Social Mobility and the Research Group on International Student Mobility and Migration. The merger of these two clusters reflects the ongoing central importance of the field of education – at the primary, secondary and tertiary level – for understanding international migration patterns as well as experiences and outcomes in host country contexts. Furthermore, it is through education that social inequalities are sustained, increased, or abolished. This is why this Standing Committee also specifically focuses on “social inequality”.

The intersections between education, (international) mobility and social inequality provide an ideal starting point to combine wider social theoretical work with empirical data collections and analyses. We aim to advance critical theoretical discussions on topics of social inequalities in education, education-to-work transitions as well as international mobility and education (e.g. students and refugees). In the past, we have called attention to theories of social reproduction and we will continue to work on these realms, yet we also aim at extending the focus to, for example, organizational approaches in order to foster our understanding of the systemic and institutional production of educational trajectories and social inequality. Moreover, we seek to strengthen the topics of discrimination and racism in education and particularly invite researchers working on these topics to contribute to the SC’s activities.

Names of coordinators

Elif Keskiner

Free University of Amsterdam

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Nubin Ciziri

Uppsala University, Sweden

F. Zehra Colak

Utrecht University, Netherlands

Thais França

Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, Portugal

Christine Lang

Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies | Osnabrueck University, Germany


Jens Schneider

Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), Germany

PhD Representative

Yao Xie

University of Galway, Ireland

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Agenda of activities

  • Dissemination and communication activities. The SC regularly organizes panels at the annual IMISCOE conferences with open calls for papers. Both early-career and senior researchers within and outside of the IMISCOE network are welcome to approach us with ideas for workshops and/or with panel suggestions (please contact the SC coordinators for further information). The SC also organizes webinars and workshops on specific topics inviting experts from within and outside the IMISCOE network to foster intellectual exchange and reflection as well as to promote collaborative research initiatives.
  • Joint publications. The SC agenda also includes the submission of special issue proposals to peer-reviewed journals and book projects, which are the fruit of the active collaboration between early-career and senior researchers of the SC.
  • Research projects. The SC provides spaces for exchange and supports collaboration among researchers to foster the development of joint research projects.
  • Workshops. The SC can financially support meetings and workshops outside the IMISCOE conferences that are aimed at developing proposals for publications or research.
  • PhD training and support. The SC supports PhD students and early-career researchers through different regular activities. The Writing Workshops/Retreats aim at providing them key insights on the publishing process as well as an online platform where they can meet to work on their writing projects and share their experiences. The Journal Clubs provide a forum in which PhD students can present papers and ongoing projects and receive detailed feedback from a senior researcher of the SC and from peers.
  • Matchmaking sessions: To foster collaboration between members of the SC and non-European/Global South researchers, the SC organizes Matchmaking sessions where researchers working in similar areas meet to share their interests and discuss possible collaboration opportunities.


IMISCOE conference panels

  • “Refugee parents´ engagement with education”, Annual IMISCOE conference in Luxembourg (Luxembourg), July 2021.
  • “Racism and discrimination in education”, Annual IMISCOE conference in Luxembourg (Luxembourg), July 2021.
  • “The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on international student mobility”, Annual IMISCOE conference in Luxembourg (Luxembourg), July 2021.
  • “Migration-related diversity in higher education”, Annual IMISCOE conference in Luxembourg (Luxembourg), July 2020.
  • “The role of place in international student mobility and migration dynamics”, Annual IMISCOE Conference in Malmö (Sweden), June 2019.
  • “International student mobility and migration: trajectories, transitions, and social transformation”, Annual IMISCOE Conference in Barcelona (Spain), July 2018.
  • “The gender gap in international student mobility”, Annual IMISCOE Conference in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), June 2017.

Workshops and webinars

  • Webinar “Challenging racism in education: anti-racist teaching practices”, Friday 25 February 2022. Guest speakers: Orhan Agirdag (KU Leuven) and Rita Kohli (University of California, Riverside) More information here:
  • IMISCOE follow-up workshop “International student mobility and migration: trajectories, transitions, and social transformations”, October 2018, DZHW, Hannover (Germany). 
  • IMISCOE follow-up workshop “International student migration and mobility: policy perspectives”, October 2017, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

Research projects

  • COST Action 'European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice (ENIS)' (2021-2025): ENIS is an international network of researchers with the goal to connect scientific output and practice recommendations.
  • Pathways to Success-ELITES (2011-2019): The international Pathways to Success-ELITES research consortium included research projects in different countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) and an ERC project. It studied intergenerational social mobility and successful educational and professional trajectories among immigrant children in different urban and national contexts as well as in international comparison.

Joint publications

  • OUT NOW! Revisiting Migrant Networks: Migrants and their Descendants in Labour Markets. This edited volume aims at advancing a critical theoretical discussion on the connections between migrants’ networks and their social mobility. The book can be downloaded here:
  • Special issue “International student migration and mobility policies: theoretical and empirical insights”, in Globalisation, Societies and Education. This special issue provides theoretical and empirical insights on how migration and educational policies at the regional and national levels emerge, are negotiated and become implemented, as well as how they (might) contradict other policies. Available at: 
  • Forthcoming: Special issue “The role of place in international student mobility dynamics”, in Globalisation, Societies and Education. This special issue highlights that processes of international student mobility are not place-neutral, and that there is a need to consider geographic specificities and differentials in order to understand the drivers and effects of international student mobility. All contributions of the special issue illustrate how international student mobility is the outcome of complex interactions of both individual and socio-spatial characteristics.
  • Forthcoming: New Social Mobility: Second Generation Pioneers in Europe. This book project is the joint publication of a comparative research initiative in six countries on the upwardly mobile descendants of migrants. It sheds light on the barriers and opportunities for successful educational and professional trajectories as well as the institutional contexts shaping them.

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