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Do (Not) Follow in My Footsteps

How Mothers Influence Working-Class Girls’ Aspirations

Melissa Swauger

This article examines how working-class mothers influence their daughters' aspirations. Data was gathered from focus groups and interviews with twenty-one white and African American working-class girls and fifteen of their mothers from Southwestern Pennsylvania, United States. Research revealed that the mothers' advice is gendered, class-based, and racialized, and that it emphasizes the importance of caregiving, living near family, and financial independence and security. Qualitatively examining the messages related to work and family that working-class mothers relay to their daughters and how daughters take in these messages shows the contradictions that emerge when working-class mothers support aspiration formation.

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‘We are not all equal!’

Raising achievement and aspiration by improving the transition from the BTEC to higher education

Richard Peake

In my role as programme leader of the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Criminology, I observed that students who entered with A-levels were more likely to achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree than students from other routes of entry. Analysis of five cohorts showed that less than half of entrants with Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification achieved a 2:1 classification, compared to over 90 per cent of A-level students. In the interests of equity, this phenomenon deserved further investigation. I set out to identify issues in the transition to higher education that may cause BTEC students to struggle to adapt to academic study and any skills deficits that may ultimately lead to underachievement. As a result of the study, a toolkit was devised to smooth the transition, raise aspiration, enhance self-esteem and improve outcomes.

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"We Had to Stick Together"

Black Boys, the Urban Neighborhood Context, and Educational Aspirations

Derrick Brooms

Studies investigating disadvantaged urban neighborhoods often focus on students’ academic underperformance, ways they succumb to environmental stressors, involvement in illicit activities, and adherence to street-oriented behaviors and culture. This article focuses on the ways a select group of Black boys in the US successfully navigated structural impediments and interpersonal challenges during their secondary school years and eventually matriculated to college. Drawing on interview data, the article examines students’ sense-making and the importance of their peers in navigating the urban environment: (1) interactions with people in the neighborhood and (2) strategies to negotiate the urban environment context in pursuit of their educational aspirations. The students’ narratives highlight the benefits they assign to their peer relationships and collectivist efforts to support their educational goals.

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Educational Persistence in the Face of Violence

Narratives of Resilient Latino Male Youth

Adrian H. Huerta

Latino boys and young men often carry the debt of violence into different spaces. This invisible trauma manifests into disruptive behaviors in schools. It is well documented that violence in urban communities and schools has received significant attention from researchers, but little attention has been paid to Latino male youth as individuals and the various forms of violence they have experienced, and how that impacts educational persistence. This qualitative study focuses on 26 Latino male middle and high school students who are attending two continuation schools to understand the types of violence they have experienced and their educational aspirations after high school.

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Moving-with-Others

Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia

Paolo Gaibazzi

The article argues for an intersubjective understanding of mobility among aspirant migrants in the Gambia. Among other factors, Gambian young men’s desire to reach Europe and other destinations may stem from an experience of dispersal and abandonment in migrant households. Emigration becomes a way of restoring the viability of relationships, in a socioeconomic sense of regenerating ties and flows between migrants and nonmigrants, as well as in an existential-kinetic sense of experiencing others as moving closer to oneself. By highlighting intersubjective mobility, the article contributes to widening the scope of an existential take on movement and stasis. It further revises popular and scholarly views on the role of families and migrants in shaping aspirations to emigrate.

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Stephan Feuchtwang

, skill, order, organization, etiquette, and civility (this is Mauss’s list). In other words, civilization is ideological and aspirational. It ranks and distinguishes ‘fine’ art from ‘popular’ art, a great tradition from a little one, what merits

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Authenticity and Aspiration

Exploring the CBBC Television Tween

Sarah Godfrey

explore the ways in which CBBC proffers images of tween girlhood that connect to broader discursive impulses of authenticity, aspiration, agency, and empowerment within global tween cultures but which do so in ways that are distinctly informed by their

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Slum politics

Community leaders, everyday needs, and utopian aspirations in Recife, Brazil

Martijn Koster and Pieter A. de Vries

This article envisages slum dwellers' politics in Recife, Brazil as a realm of possibility in which care and recognition are central. Community leaders are its main facilitators as articulators of slum dwellers' needs and aspirations. The article's notion of slum politics is an elaboration of Chatterjee's (2004) ideas on popular politics as a “politics of the governed.“ Yet the article critiques the governmentality perspective for its inability to envisage a politics of hope and possibility. It distinguishes among slum politics, governmental politics (projects and programs), and electoral politics (voting), which are entwined and interdependent, but different. Zooming in on a community leader's urban agriculture project, the article argues that this project, which from an outsiders' perspective may be considered non-viable, provided slum dwellers with possibilities to strive for community solidarity and personal recognition. Slum politics, the article concludes, is about claiming the right to be counted and recognized, and about the care for the other.

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"I Don't Want to Spend My Life under a Toilet Seat"

Aspiration, Belonging, and Responsible Masculinities in the Lives of White, Working-Class Boys in a Youth Inclusion Program at the YMCA

Ross Wignall

Working with a cohort of boys aged 14–18 and classed as not in employment, education, or training (NEET) at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in the UK city of Brighton and Hove, this article follows their progress as they engage with instructors and other pupils at the YMCA, using qualitative modes of inquiry to explore their reactions, feelings, and attitudes. As I demonstrate, their aspirations and sense of emergent manhood is often predicated on new relationships generated in the YMCA spaces rooted in a culture of caring and responsible masculinity founded on implicit Christian values. Through interviews with young men and the people around them, I probe some of the tensions in this process, showing how persistent attachments to places and spaces beyond the YMCA can create feelings of ambivalence and, in some cases, a sense of alienation and marginality even as they begin to feel that they belong.

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Mark Donovan and Paolo Onofri

It is difficult to tell a story pretending not to know how it ends. This volume

is concerned with the political and politico-economic events that

took place in Italy during the course of 2007, but in reality it is implicitly

the story of an aborted legislature, the fifteenth in the Republic’s history,

which began in April 2006 and ended prematurely in January 2008.

Perhaps in anticipation of this outcome, the year 2007 was permeated

by a sense of deep political malaise. The government of Romano Prodi,

despite having been in office since only May 2006, and despite its reasonably

effective management of the economy, was weak and unpopular.

Its frailty was rooted, most immediately, in the election outcome,

which gave it a majority of just two in the Senate, and that outcome in

turn resulted in large part from the effects of the electoral system reform

introduced by the center-right government in December 2005. The purpose

of that reform—or counter-reform, as some prefer to call it—was to

minimize the scale of the government’s expected defeat or, reversing the

perspective, to render the center-left’s victory as marginal as possible.