We propose a conference on the 'Causes and Consequences of Low Education in Contemporary Europe' for the year 2004. There is a growing field of research on the educational pathways, employment trajectories, and life chances of the low educated/low skilled. This research has been propelled by the observation that formal education has become the primary source of life chances in industrialized societies.
This raises the question to what extent people without secondary education or with low levels of secondary education increasingly find themselves in precarious situations. Precariousness does not only refer to disadvantages in the employment career but also to disadvantages in family formation and social participation. The causes and consequences of low educational qualifications differ by institutional settings regarding the educational and training system, the labour market, welfare state institutions and social policies.
The conference will be an interdisciplinary conference. Contributions from economics, sociology, demography and political science will investigate the life courses of low educated persons in European countries. The conference will be a high-level scientific meeting, bringing together the leading European scholars in these areas. The proposed meeting addresses a topic of central interest to academics and policy makers.
The ambitious intention of the conference is to connect research fields that usually remain separate, namely, research on social inequality in education, on labour markets, family issues, social participation, and social policy. The emphasis will be on work in progress providing an opportunity for participants to present up to the minute research, new ideas and theories, and, in turn, to receive feedback from their colleagues. The general objective of the conference is to help foster comparative social research among European academics.