Anchoring and Breaking Points - Biographies of Young People without School-Leaving Certificates


  • Marlena Dorniak University of Bielefeld


Early School Leaving, Social Inequality, Biographies, Participatory Research, Bioecological Development Model.


What anchoring and breaking points shape biographies of young adults without school-leaving certificates? Which persons or events have helped them in the past to cope with difficult life situations? What positive experiences have they had? How do institutions, the educational system or society influence them? This work presents first results of a participatory research project in Germany, which involves young people without school-leaving certificates as co-researchers examining their personal biographies. The group worked on a wide range of topics to gain a better understanding of the whole context of their lives. The data obtained within a creative process in the research group, in group discussions, and in individual interviews is evaluated applying the Qualitative Content Analysis (Mayring, 2015). The Bioecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) does not only offer a theoretical basis for the formation of corresponding categories, but is also applied as a tool to work with the co-researchers to investigate multifactorial correlations for leaving school without a certificate.