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Session Overview
RN10_08: Perceptions and beliefs of the future
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Antigoni Alba Papakonstantinou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Location: UP.2.218
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road

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Young People And Visions Of The Future: The Role Of Cultural Capital

Ciro Cangiano, Rosalba Sarnataro

University of Naples Federico II, Italy

The pervasive discourse of neoliberalism, pushing young people to acquire high levels of education as well as high-profile skills and qualifications, emphasizes the idea of education as a powerful tool to promote employability and social mobility. In contrast with this vision, an important theoretical perspective has shown how in the educational system powerful mechanisms of reproduction of social inequality operate, since the educational pathways (how long and what young people study) are deeply influenced by social positioning (Apple 2006; Furlong & Cartmel 2009). Following Bourdieu (1964), it is possible to see how in these mechanisms – in orienting young people’s educational chances and choices – a decisive role is played by aspirations and visions of the future: so, the relationship between education and visions of the future turns to be a crucial issue.

This relationship constitutes the object of our contribution, whose aim in not only to show if (and how) aspirations and images of “tomorrow” affect the educational choices but also to understand if education is able to enlarge young people’s horizons of the future and/or to raise their aspirations. On the bases of the analysis of 78 life stories, collected within a research program funded by MIUR (The Italian Ministry of Education and Research) the contribution shows how embodied cultural capital (Bourdieu 1979) and the capital of experience (Furlong 2011), situated in individual’s subjectivity (Woodman & Wyn 2006), make the difference in the way young people conceptualize the future more than the institutionalized cultural capital.

Educational Strategies Among Danish Disadvantaged Youth – Cautious or Carefree?

Louise Høyer Bom, Jens-Peter Thomsen

VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research, Denmark

This project examines how educational strategies varies among disadvantaged Danish adolescents. While most studies focus on between-group differences, we examine how educational expectations are shaped differently within this group of disadvantaged young people. We have conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 100 9th graders sampled from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, focusing on their educational expectations and transition. In this paper, we present results from an analysis of a subgroup of these 9th graders – those from more disadvantaged backgrounds (where the parents have none or little education beyond compulsory school).

While studies have previously shown that disadvantaged children have lower expectations than their privileged peers (even net of scholastic ability), this study investigates the variation in this group and why some youngsters have expectations well above the average for this group. We find that there are substantial within-group differ-ences and identify distinct educational strategies that highlight how young people from disadvantaged back-grounds responds very differently to the process of educational expectation-making. These different responses show how important information on educational expectation-making is lost when averaging expectations for the group of young disadvantaged people.

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