|Title||Effects of Race, Class, and Social Capital on the Formation of Aspirations among High School Students|
Abstract This work examines the under-recognized complexity of how race and socioeconomic status (SES) shape aspirations and mobility prospects for teenagers transitioning to adulthood. In this research, I follow Young (2004) in conceiving of aspirations as future-oriented goals, coupled with clearly articulated strategies for attainment. I test three main hypotheses: first, that white and middle-class students will have more ambitious goals than their non-white and working-class counterparts. Second, I hypothesize that white and middle-class students will have more well-articulated strategies for attaining their goals than non-white and working-class students. Lastly, I hypothesize that aspects of the home environment explain these differences, specifically in terms of the social capital available to teenagers. The data for this research come from fifteen one-hour interviews with randomly selected high school students (juniors and seniors), stratified on the basis of race and SES. I asked these students about their educational and occupational goals and whether they have specific plans for achieving those goals. In addition, I asked about the sources of their aspirations, including aspects of their home environments and close social ties both inside and outside of their families. I found that middle class students typically have higher goals then working class students, while non-white students have higher goals than white students. These differences in aspirations are strongly tied to individuals’ social networks.
|Favorite||ADD TO FAVORITE|