Paths to Work: The Political Economy of Education and Social Inequality in the United States, 1870-1940
Groeger, Cristina V.
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CitationGroeger, Cristina V. 2017. Paths to Work: The Political Economy of Education and Social Inequality in the United States, 1870-1940. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines how the expansion of formal education, so often hailed as a road to opportunity, gave rise to a new form of social inequality in the modern United States. Using quantitative data analysis and qualitative archival sources, it traces the transformation from workplace-based training for employment in the nineteenth century to school-based training in the twentieth century. This dissertation examines the city of Boston, a city that pioneered many developments in American education and was home to a heterogeneous population and diversified economy. Prior interpreters have applied competing frameworks to the relationship between education and work: “human capital” by economists, “credentialism” by sociologists, and “skill-formation regimes” by political scientists. By delving deeply into the history of this transformation, I show how an expanding landscape of schools facilitated social mobility for some, especially women and second-generation immigrants, but also encouraged “professional” strategies of job control based on exclusionary educational credentials that overwhelmingly benefited an educated, white, male, elite. My dissertation reorients the focus of contemporary inequality scholarship from the “turning point” of the 1970s to the profound transformation of paths to work a century earlier.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41140201
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