What is an upper class

Excellent upper class : The ultra-elite comes from the best

In science it is based on performance, and again on performance! Anyone who makes progress here is one of the best. - This is how German science likes to present itself. Ever since the study by the Paderborn sociologist Christina Möller became known, it must be doubted that universities recruit their professors exclusively according to meritocratic principles. Because those who come from the upper social class have significantly higher chances of a professorship than potential competitors from other classes (the Tagesspiegel reported). For example, 80 percent of law professors have parents who belong to the upper or higher class, 72 percent of medical professors. And never in 40 years has the proportion of professors from the highest class been as high as it is today.

For seventy years, two-thirds of the ultra-elite have come from the upper classes

How does it look in the group of those professors from theirpeers were elected to a management position - as a science manager, Nobel Prize winner or winner of the Leibniz Prize, which is highly regarded in Germany? The Darmstadt sociologist Angela Graf dealt with these “best of the best”, i.e. the scientific ultra-elite, in her dissertation. As with Möller, the supervisor was the Darmstadt elite researcher Michael Hartmann. Graf's result: for seventy years, almost two thirds of the scientific elite have come from the upper classes.

Managers, professors, officers

For her study, Graf evaluated the careers of 407 members of the scientific elite between 1945 and 2013. According to the statistical tradition, it was based on the father's occupation. The upper bourgeoisie includes, for example, lawyers, doctors, councilors, qualified engineers or managing directors of companies with up to 100 employees. The upper middle class includes large entrepreneurs with at least 100 employees, high managers, high officials such as professors, officers and very wealthy academic freelancers. The other occupational groups form the "normal population", which is made up of the working class and the middle class. The workforce is run as a separate category. The middle class includes farmers as well as lower, middle and upper salaried employees and smaller self-employed people as well as civil servants, such as railway employees, bankers, typesetters, detective officers, elementary school teachers, master craftsmen and smaller self-employed people.

Two thirds of the ultra-elite come from 3.5 percent of the population

The educational expansion, which has resulted in a more mixed student body since the 1970s, has not changed anything in terms of social exclusivity: From 1985 to the present day, 65 percent of the ultra-elite were recruited from a wafer-thin segment of the population: from the upper middle class and the upper class, those belong to only 3.5 percent of the population (see graphic).

Graf notes "an enormous social exclusivity of the scientific elite". As typical examples, Graf mentions the former chairman of the Science Council, Karl Max Einhäupl (2001 to 2006), whose father ran a large architectural office, or the former DFG President Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker (1998 to 2006), whose father was at the helm of Hoechst AG stood.

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