Hans-Peter Blossfeld

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Hans-Peter Blossfeld 2011

Hans-Peter Blossfeld (born July 30, 1954 in Munich ) is a German sociologist .


Hans-Peter Blossfeld was born in Munich in 1954 and studied sociology, economics, statistics and business informatics at the University of Regensburg from 1976 to 1980 . In 1984 he received his doctorate in economics (Dr. rer. Pol.) At the University of Mannheim and in 1987 he completed his habilitation in sociology at the Free University of Berlin . 1980–1984 he was a research assistant at the VASMA project at the University of Mannheim and from 1984–1992 a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research in Berlin (there on leave from 1988 to 1992). In the academic year 1988–1989, Blossfeld was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in Wassenaar near The Hague (Netherlands); then he was Professor and Chair in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) from 1989–1992, Professor of Statistics and Methods of Empirical Social Research at the University of Bremen from 1992–1998 and Professor of General Sociology, especially theory, from 1998–2002 and empirical studies of social structures and economic systems at Bielefeld University. Blossfeld has held the Chair of Sociology I at the University of Bamberg since 2002 (on leave there since September 2012). Since September 2012 Blossfeld has been Professor and Chair of Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (Italy). Before moving to the EUI, he was head of the State Institute for Family Research (ifb) at the University of Bamberg from 2003 to 2012, director of the Institute for Longitudinal Studies in Educational Science (INBIL) from 2008 to 2012 and, from 2006 to 2008, founder and then scientific director from 2008 to 2012 ( Principal Investigator) of the National Education Panel (NEPS) .

During the past three decades, Blossfeld has taught as visiting professor at many renowned universities and research institutes, for example at Harvard and Cornell University, the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv, the universities in Utrecht, Groningen and Nijmegen, the universities in Southampton, Essex and Oxford, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, ​​the Università degli Studi di Trento and the Università degli Studi di Torino, the Universities of Graz and Vienna, the Business University in Bergen and the State University in St. Petersburg.

More functions

In the last 15 years, Blossfeld has headed several large-scale social science research projects, including the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) with 190 employees, which is endowed by the BMBF with an annual budget of around 23 million euros; the international comparative Globalife project with 15 employees and a budget of 1.5 million euros, which was supported by the Volkswagen Foundation; the TransEurope project with 20 employees, which was financed with 1 million euros from the European Science Foundation (ESF); and the eduLIFE project with 11 employees, which is supported with 2.5 million euros by the European Research Council (ERC).

Blossfeld is currently leading the DFG priority program 1646 “Education as a Lifelong Process” (budget 5.5 million euros) together with Prof. Sabine Weinert (Bamberg) and is in a leading position at the DFG research group BiKS (budget approx Million euros) and the ESF networks "Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences 1 and 2" (QMSS1 and QMSS2 with 1 million euros each). Blossfeld worked in various DFG special research areas, for example at Sfb3 at the universities of Frankfurt a. M. and Mannheim as well as at the Sfb186 at the University of Bremen. After all, in the last 25 years Blossfeld was the head of a large number of research projects in the normal process (with up to 7 employees) financed by the DFG, the ESF, the German-Israeli Foundation (GIF), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH ), the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA and the European Commission in Brussels (DG5 and DG12).

1990–2012 Blossfeld was Editor-in-Chief of the “European Sociological Review” (ESR - Oxford University Press) and from 2003–2012 he was the chief editor of the “Zeitschrift für Familienforschung” (ZfF - Verlag Barbara Budrich). Since 1998 he has been co-editor of the "Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft" (ZfE - VS Verlag) and since 2004 co-editor of the journal "International Sociology" (IS - Sage). Blossfeld is also a member of the editorial board of a number of specialist journals such as “Sociological Methodology” (SM - Sage) (since 2011), “Studies of Transition States and Societies” (STSS) (since 2009), “DRUŠTVENA ISTRAŽIVANJA, Časopis za opća društvena pitanja "(Journal for General Social Studies) (since 2010)," The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthroppology "(JSSA) (since 2012)," Revista Sociologia "(since 2011) and" Zeitschrift für Familienforschung "(ZfF - Verlag Barbara Budrich) (since 2012). Blossfeld has been a member of the scientific advisory board of the Zeitschrift für Soziologie since 1998 and since 2003 a member of the scientific advisory board of the Cologne journal for sociology and social psychology .

Blossfeld has been a member of the scientific advisory board of the German Youth Institute (DJI) in Munich since 2002, and has been a member of the advisory board for the research program "Educational Systems and Four Functions of Education" of the Amsterdam Center for Inequality Studies (AMCIS) and Maastricht since 2012 University. Since 2005, Blossfeld has also been chairman of the advisory board of the graduate panel of the Bavarian State Institute for University Research and Planning (IHF) in Munich.


Hans-Peter Blossfeld (l.) With Peter A. Berger at the Sociologentag 1990 in Frankfurt am Main .

The specialist areas of Blossfeld are: general sociology, educational sociology, labor market research, family sociology, population research, life course research, social structure analysis, class and mobility research, globalization research, sociology of international comparison, sociology of the dynamics of social systems and social change, sociology of economic and social development , Statistics, especially the application of modern longitudinal methods, and methods of empirical social research, especially the collection of longitudinal sections. Blossfeld has published 35 books and over 240 articles, which have been cited over 13,800 times (H-Index = 50; I10-Index = 147; Google Scholar, Jan. 2013).

Blossfeld is one of the most important researchers in the field of modern life course research. He has done numerous central works on the dynamics of social roles in the life course of men and women (e.g. Blossfeld 1986, 1987, 1995), the interdependence of life courses (e.g. Blossfeld & Hakim 1997; Blossfeld & Drobnič 2001; Blossfeld & Mills 2001), the situational constraints of critical life course situations (e.g. Blossfeld & Huinink 1991), the logic of life course decisions (Blossfeld & Prein1998) and the cumulative effects of earlier preferences and disadvantages on later life (e.g. Shavit & Blossfeld 1993; Blossfeld et al. 1995, Blossfeld, Buchholz & Hofäcker 2006).

With his methodological contributions, Blossfeld particularly influenced social research that uses longitudinal data. His books on the collection and modeling of event data are among the most cited publications in applied statistics and have also been widely acknowledged in the various related sciences of sociology (Blossfeld, Hamerle & Mayer 1995; Blossfeld & Rohwer 2002; Blossfeld, Rower & Golsch 2007).

Above all, Blossfeld is one of the pioneers of international comparative life course research. In his numerous book publications he has not only generalized knowledge about the mechanisms of the life course in individual countries, but was also able to examine in detail the importance of institutional and socio-structural variations of modern societies on the life course. As a rule, he included 10 to 20 theoretically carefully selected countries in his analyzes and cooperated intensively with experts from these countries.

Examples of Blossfeld's internationally comparative contributions are:

  1. The much-cited standard work by Yossi Shavit and Hans-Peter Blossfeld (1993), which is now considered an important milestone in educational research. It shows that in the course of the educational expansion and reforms in almost all modern industrial countries, educational inequalities according to social origin have remained surprisingly stable over the past 50 years.
  2. The long-term international comparison of the development of part-time work for women in Europe and the United States of America (Blossfeld & Hakim, 1997). This comparative study shows that the sharp increase in part-time work in most countries has not led to equality for women, nor that part-time women are completely marginalized. Rather, part-time work is to be understood from a traditional family context and can be seen as an effective strategy to make qualified women available for the labor market. This book has developed into a much-cited reference book in the field of labor market research.
  3. The change in the role of the education system as a marriage market (Blossfeld & Timm 2003). In modern industrialized countries, the educational expansion afterwards significantly strengthened educational homogamy. This tendency also means a growing closure of social circles and an intensification of the inequalities that have arisen in the individual life course through the formation of couples as well as an increasing differentiation of living conditions for the generation of children. This groundbreaking study has also been replicated by numerous other scientists.
  4. The book by Blossfeld and Drobnič (2001), in which the parallel careers of (spouses) partners in modern societies were examined longitudinally. This international comparison showed in particular that different labor market structures and welfare state regimes lead to very different social inequality patterns between families and couple households. This study, too, has become a standard work and has been quoted and replicated by many scientists.
  5. The studies from Blossfeld's "Globalife" project (1999–2009): This research asked how the effects of the globalization process are filtered by historically grown institutions in modern industrialized countries and then channeled to specific social groups. This project examined the role of globalization (1) for the opportunities of the younger generation (Blossfeld et al. 2005); (2) mid-career opportunities for men (Blossfeld, Mills & Bernardi 2006); (3) women's opportunities in mid-life between family and work (Blossfeld & Hofmeister 2006); and (4) for late professional careers and the transition to retirement (Blossfeld, Buchholz & Hofäcker 2006).

Prizes and awards

Blossfeld has been a member of the Leopoldina since 2005 , a full member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences , member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and an elected Fellow of the European Academy of Sociology (EAS). 2004–2009 he was elected President of the European Consortium of Sociological Research (ECSR).

In December 2010, Blossfeld received one of the highly regarded Advanced Researchers Grants for the eduLIFE project from the European Research Council (ERC) (prize money: 2.5 million euros). In March 2007 he was awarded the “Descartes Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research 2006” for the Globalife Project by the European Commission in Brussels (prize money: 30,000 euros). As early as 1991, Blossfeld received the Fritz Thyssen Foundation Prize for the best German-language social science article of the 1990 magazine year.

In 2012, Blossfeld became an IAB Research Fellow from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg and from the Research Center for Education and the Labor Market (ROA) at Maastricht due to his services in the field of labor market and educational research University named a Fellow. In July 2012, Blossfeld was awarded the Silver Medal of Honor from the Upper Franconia district for his work to set up NEPSA. In May 2011, Blossfeld received the Medal of Honor on Ribbon from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria, for his excellent research achievements and his activities as the head of important European comparative research projects. In March 2010, Blossfeld was awarded an honorary doctorate (Dr. hc) from the University of Tallinn for his outstanding contributions to the social sciences and his great inter-university commitment .

Publications (selection)

International peer-reviewed journals
  • H.-P. Blossfeld (2009). Educational assortative marriage in comparative perspective. Annual Review of Sociology 35: 513-30.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & M. Mills (2001). A causal approach to interrelated family events: A cross-national comparison of co-habitation, nonmarital conception, and marriage. Canadian Journal of Population 28: 409-37.
  • S. Buchholz, D. Hofäcker, M. Mills, H.-P. Blossfeld, K. Kurz & H. Hofmeister (2009). Life courses in the globalization process: The development of social inequalities in modern societies. European Sociological Review 25: 53-71.
  • S. Drobnič & H.-P. Blossfeld (2004). Career patterns over the life course: Gender, class, and linked lives. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 21: 141-66.
  • M. Mills & H.-P. Blossfeld, S. Buchholz, D. Hofäcker, F. Bernardi & H. Hofmeister (2008). Converging divergences? An international comparison of the impact of globalization on industrial relations and employment careers. International Sociology 23: 561-98.
  • T. Nazio & H.-P. Blossfeld (2003). The diffusion of cohabitation among young women in West Germany, East Germany and Italy. European Journal of Population (Revue européenne de demographie) 19: 47-82.
  • U. Poetter & H.-P. Blossfeld (2001). Causal inference from series of events. European Sociological Review 17: 21-32.
  • I. Relikowski, E. Ylmaz & H.-P. Blossfeld (2012): How can the high educational aspirations of migrants be explained? A mixed methods study on the role of structural advancement processes and individual educational experience. Cologne journal for sociology and social psychology, special issue 52: 111-136.
  • H. Skopek, K. Kolb, S. Buchholz & H.-P. Blossfeld (2012): Income rich - poor in wealth? The composition of wealth and the importance of individual wealth components in a European comparison. Berliner Journal für Soziologie, 22 (2012): 163-187.
  • S. Buchholz, Ch. Imdorf, S. Hupka-Brunner & H.-P. Blossfeld (2012): Are low-performing young people really not capable of training? A longitudinal analysis of the vocational qualification of young people with low cognitive skills in neighboring Switzerland. Appears in: Cologne Journal for Sociology and Social Psychology (2012) 64: 701-727.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & S. Drobnič (2001). Careers of couples in contemporary societies. From male breadwinner to dual earner families. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & G. Rohwer (2002). Techniques of event history modeling. New approaches to causal analysis. Mahwah (NJ): Erlbaum.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & A. Timm (2003). Who marries whom? Educational systems as marriage markets in modern societies. A comparison of thirteen countries. European Studies of Population, Dordrecht (NL): Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & E. Klijzing, M. Mills & K. Kurz (2005). Globalization, uncertainty and youth in society. London & New York: Routledge.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld, M. Mills & F. Bernardi (2006). Globalization, uncertainty and men's careers. An international comparison. Cheltenham (UK) & Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld & H. Hofmeister (2006). Globalization, uncertainty and women's careers. An international comparison. Cheltenham (UK) & Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld, S. Buchholz & D. Hofäcker (2006). Globalization, uncertainty and late careers in society. London & New York: Routledge.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld, G. Rohwer & K. Golsch (2007). Event history analysis with Stata. Mahwah (NJ) and London (UK): Erlbaum.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld, S. Buchholz, E. Bukodi & K. Kurz (2008). Young workers, globalization and the labor market: Comparing early working life in eleven countries. Cheltenham (UK) & Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar.
  • K. Kurz & H.-P. Blossfeld (2004). Home ownership and social inequality in comparative perspective. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press.
  • H.-P. Blossfeld, J. von Maurice & H.-G. Roßbach (2011): Education as a lifelong process. The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), special issue 14, journal for educational science. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Member entry by Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Blossfeld (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 30, 2016.