Social mobility and post-compulsory education: revisiting Boudon's model of social opportunity

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This paper uses Raymond Boudon's model of educational expansion to examine the relationship between education and social mobility, paying particular attention to post-compulsory education - an important site of social differentiation in England. The paper shows how Boudon focuses explicitly on the consequences of educational expansion, and argues that his work helps us understand why widening access to post-compulsory education does not necessarily lead to higher rates of social mobility. We investigate Boudon's key theoretical insights and assess the contemporary relevance of his model. The paper argues that the fundamental assumptions of Boudon's model not only remain valid, but have been intensified by systemic changes in English post-compulsory education, and its articulation with the labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-765
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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