Focusing primarily on Finnish data, the research problem at the core of this dissertation asks fo what extent a meritocratic interpretation of social stratification can be maintained empirically. Fields of study play a central role in this analysis: not only are they likely to channel individuals into different labour market segments, but the choice of educational fields continues to be highly influenced by gender.
The findings of this study reveal that educational qualifications are not a homogeneous asset on the labour market, but their importance varies significantly between individuals' fields of study. It is argued that these results challenge individual-centred, meritocratic accounts of social stratification and further underline the problematic lack of structural and institutional dimensions in the usual account of social status attainment.
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