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Social Stratification & Meritocracy (working title)


Stratification theory commonly puts education as the link between class of origin and class of destination. This system, where class is inherited through education and education inherited through class is often referred to as meritocracy. The concept of meritocracy - a society dominated by those with the most merits - has gained widespread support. Still, authoritarian and populist resurgences throughout the West indicate that ascriptive factors very much remain of import. So what is happening to meritocracy? In this doctoral project I address this question by studying the Swedish educational system and the phenomenon known as immigrant optimism.

Immigrant optimism refers to the fact that immigrants and children of immigrants tend to be more academically driven than expected given their socioeconomic backgrounds. This would result in advantage in the labor market, were it not for racialization and discrimination. As a result, immigrant optimism is at the intersection of the competing principles of attainment and ascription, making it an ideal subject for a project concerned with meritocracy.


Education, Ethnicity, Social exclusion/inclusion

2014 - 2020



REMESO Project Leader

Olav Nygård, PhD Student

Participants not from REMESO

Contact for project


Last updated: 2019-09-26

Page responsible: erik.berggren@liu.se
Last updated: 2020-05-27