Heath, Sue, Fuller, Alison and Johnston, Brenda
Young people, social capital and network-based educational decision-making
British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31, (4), . (doi:10.1080/01425692.2010.484918).
Microsoft Word BJSE_paper_Feb10_final.doc
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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.
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