Middle class parental aspiration and the transmission of advantage in contrasting locales

Bullough, L (2021) Middle class parental aspiration and the transmission of advantage in contrasting locales. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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Abstract

This thesis investigated parental aspirations regarding children's futurity, how they relate to parenting styles and to what extent their sense of belonging to their neighbourhood might be underpinned by values, personal and intergenerational biography and resources. This study considered how families help to reproduce social advantage and disadvantage through the perspective of Bourdieu's conceptual framework regarding social and cultural reproduction, with the family viewed as a habitus generating institution. Taken from a series of semi-­structured interviews with parents of children at key transition points in the English primary school, qualitative data examined parental aspirations for children's futurity in three urban settings. In this thesis it is argued that locational habitus can be seen as a structuring device, mediated through embodied capital within education, cultural practices and family socialisation. Findings from this study illuminated how some parents are seeking to map the life of their children, particularly through the acquisition of specific personality traits which facilitate social fluency, adaptability and resilience. An original contribution arising from this research is how these desirable dispositions are transformative at times of transition and form the basis for future occupational competencies. Findings also propose changing parental attitudes to higher education with ambiguity regarding the pursuit of a university degree accentuated by high tuition fees, economic instability and uncertainty as to its value and whether future investment is likely to be suitably rewarded. No longer seen as purely securing educational advantage based upon the value of a 'good degree', parental rationale for university attendance is more explicitly linked to the accumulation of personal capital to maximise employability.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: aspiration, desirable dispositions, locational habitus, parenting styles, primary school education, higher education, England, Pierre Bourdieu
Divisions: School of Education
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 17:25
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 16:41
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