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Project “Pathways to the Future”

A longitudinal study on the social integration of young people in Vienna

In summer 2016, the Department of Sociology has started to conduct the longitudinal study “Pathways to the Future”, which aims at analysing the social integration of a specific group of young people in Vienna from a holistic perspective. The study focuses on different interconnected stages of adolescence:

  • educational system and vocational training
  • professional life and labour market training measures
  • family relationships and social networks
  • identity-forming processes
  • dynamics of youth culture

On the one hand, the project analyses lives in relation to social origin, educational success and labour market opportunities, as well as the conceived or promised, desired or dreaded future of young people in Vienna on the other hand. Over the course of the project, we aim to demonstrate what options young people have a priori as they continue through life, what circumstances offer new options, but also why the doors to their options close again. This allows us to gain new insights into how the conditions of the school system, families, institutions and the labour market shape the life chances of young generations and what strategies young people pursue during transition phases in this stage of life.

This longitudinal study has a project duration of at least five years. It will combine a qualitative and a quantitative panel using a mixed-methods approach. We will approach the young study participants during their last year at an Austrian so-called new secondary school (Neue Mittelschule) at the age of 14 or 15, and observe them on their further course through life. Young people attending this type of school have a wide range of options after school. However, on average, their participation opportunities are more limited than those of young people attending an academic secondary school (Gymnasium).

The Department of Sociology aims to combine the knowledge, experiences and methodological approaches from its key research areas in its project “Pathways to the Future”. Therefore, a wide range of experts from the following subject areas participate in the project:

  • work and organisational sociology
  • sociology of the family
  • gender research
  • sociology of culture and knowledge
  • life course research
  • methodological research
  • migration research
  • urban sociology

Students actively participate in the project as well: The Department offers different courses related to the project on a regular basis. For further information about the courses offered as part of this project during the current semester, please consult the course directory. Students have the opportunity to write their master’s thesis using data collected within the project. If you are interested, please contact the project steering group.


Research is conducted in a project of the Department of Sociology. A steering group is responsible for planning and coordinating the project. It consists of academics of the Department, led by Professor Jörg Flecker.

Steuerungsgruppe des Projekts

Franz Astleithner, Jörg Flecker, Yuri Kazepov, Barbara Mataloni, Ana Mijic, Maria Pohn-Lauggas, Christoph Reinprecht, Irene Rieder, Maria Schlechter, Andre Schmidt, Susanne Vogl, Veronika Wöhrer, Ulrike Zartler

not in the picture: Andrea Jesser, Raphaela Kogler, Camilo Molina Xaca, Michael Parzer, Teresa Petrik, Brigitte Schels


For this project, the Department of Sociology cooperates with key public administrative and political organisations.

This has two objectives: On the one hand, the cooperation aims at making use of the extensive knowledge existing at these organisations in the project. On the other hand, it aims to ensure that the research results are incorporated into practice and policy development. To date, the Department has cooperation agreements with the following organisations: