Research into social stratification and social divisions has always been a central component of sociological study. This volume brings together a range of thematically organised case-studies comprising empirical and methodological analyses addressing the challenges of studying trends and processes in social stratification. This collection has four themes. The first concerns the measurement of social stratification, since the problem of relating concepts, measurements and operationalizations continues to cause difficulties for sociological analysis. This book clarifies the appropriate deployment of existing measurement options, and presents new empirical strategies of measurement and interpretation. The conception of the life course and individual social biography is very popular in modern sociology. The second theme of this volume exploits the contemporary expansion of micro-level longitudinal data and the analytical approaches available to researchers to exploit such records. It comprises chapters which exemplify innovative empirical analysis of life-course processes in a longitudinal context, thus offering an advance on previous sociological accounts concerned with longitudinal trends and processes. The third theme of the book concerns the interrelationship between contemporary demographic, institutional and socioeconomic transformations and structures of social inequality. Although the role of wider social changes is rarely neglected in sociological reviews, such changes continue to raise analytical challenges for any assessment of empirical differences and trends. The fourth theme of the book discusses selected features of policy and political responses to social stratification. This volume will be of interest to students, academics and policy experts working in the field of social stratification.
'The contributions in this book demonstrate the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary social stratification research. Ranging from chapters concerned with measuring social stratification to studies of lifecourse stratification processes, demographic and institutional effects, and political and policy responses, the contributors show an engaging willingness to question dominant approaches, propose new ways forward, and take evidence and argument seriously. There is also a welcome focus on countries less studied, including Central and Eastern Europe and South and Southeast Asia. The book reaffirms the relevance and the excitement of stratification research for understanding and explaining structures and dynamics in contemporary societies.' Mark Western, University of Queensland, Australia 'This book provides key contributions to the field of quantitative social stratification research and offers conceptual, analytical and practical insights - as well as a wealth of new empirical analyses - on the comparative effects and longitudinal patterns of social stratification across a range of contexts... This book contains several detailed analyses of specialist areas, which will undoubtedly make a substantial contribution to the field of social stratification research... On the whole, the book straddles a careful line between extolling the virtues of quantitative social stratification research and cautioning against extrapolating grand theoretical claims from statistical stories... a useful reference for quantitative widening participation researchers interested in learning about the latest social stratification research. It also provides an important reminder of the limitations and problems of empirical research, as well as highlighting some popular and policy (mis)interpretations.' Widening Participation Lifelong Learning