Sociology and the Study of the Life Course

The Center for Sociology and the Study of the Life Course, directed by Prof. Karl Ulrich Mayer, ran from 1983 to 2005.

The Center for Sociology and the Study of the Life Course conducted a comprehensive research program on the social structure and institutional contexts of life courses in contemporary societies. Its studies focused on the interdependencies between education, training, labor markets, and families, and their outcomes with respect to individual life trajectories and life chances.

The Center’s empirical research strategies were based on retrospective, longitudinal surveys for a series of West and East German cohorts born between 1919 and 1971, supplemented by data from the German Socio-Economic Household Panel, the Employment Register, and corresponding data sources for other countries.

The projects explored issues such as the pathways to employment and occupation for West German women and men born between 1964 and 1971, with the impact of sudden system change on life courses in East Germany, and the mechanisms matching education and training to occupation and social status.

Gruppenfoto | Forschungsbereich Bildung, Arbeit und gesellschaftliche Entwicklun
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung


Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer
(until 30 June 2005)

Research was continued from 2003 to 2010 at Yale University in CIQLE.

Via GESIS the data can be used for scientific purposes.