Young people, social capital and network-based educational decision-making

Heath, Sue, Fuller, Alison and Johnston, Brenda (2010) Young people, social capital and network-based educational decision-making. British Journal of the Sociology of Education, 31, (4), 395-411. (doi:10.1080/01425692.2010.484918).


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This paper explores whether and in what ways young people's perceptions and experiences of higher education (HE) can facilitate the transmission within their social networks of social capital both upwardly (from child to parent) and horizontally (from sibling to sibling), and thus can potentially provide bridging capital to family members, especially in families with little or no prior experience of HE. It utilises data from a project that explored the embedded nature of decision-making about HE amongst a group of 'potentially recruitable' adults and their wider networks. The study researched 16 networks, and the resultant sample of 107 individuals included six teenagers and 15 young people in their twenties. The paper concludes that, despite the general emphasis within existing theoretical approaches to network capital on the downward transmission of social capital, the educational experiences of younger generations can be critical in shaping the perceptions of other (including older) network members, albeit not always in ways that encourage formal educational participation.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/01425692.2010.484918
ISSNs: 0142-5692 (print)
1465-3346 (electronic)
Keywords: social capital, widening participation, higher education, social networks
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Lifelong and Work-Related Learning
ePrint ID: 153747
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
July 2010Published
Date Deposited: 21 May 2010 08:35
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:25
Non-Participation in HE: Decision-Making as an Embedded Social Practice
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-139-25-0232)
Led by: Alison Fuller
1 April 2006 to 31 May 2008

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