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Explaining educational achievement and career aspirations among young british pakistanis: Mobilizing 'ethnic capital'?

Shah, Bindi, Dwyer, Claire and Modood, Tariq (2010) Explaining educational achievement and career aspirations among young british pakistanis: Mobilizing 'ethnic capital'? Sociology, 44, (6), pp. 1109-1127. (doi:10.1177/0038038510381606).

Record type: Article


This article offers an explanation for recent trends that indicate higher numbers of young British Pakistani men and women pursue higher education compared to their white peers. Our qualitative research provides evidence for shared norms and values amongst British Pakistani families, what we term ‘ethnic capital’. However, our findings also highlight differences between families. The Bourdieuian notion of ‘cultural capital’ explains educational success among middle-class British Pakistani families. We argue, however, that insufficient attention has been given to the relation between education and ethnicity, and particularly the role of ‘ethnic capital’ in ameliorating social class disadvantage. Our research also recognizes the limitations of ‘ethnic capital’ and traces the interplay of ethnicity with gender and religion that produces differences between, and within, working-class British Pakistani families. We also emphasize how structural constraints, selective school systems and racialized labour markets, influence the effectiveness of ‘ethnic capital’ in promoting educational achievement and social mobility.

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Published date: December 2010
Keywords: british pakistanis, cultural capital, education, ethnic capital, gender, religion, social capital
Organisations: Sociology & Social Policy


Local EPrints ID: 186235
ISSN: 0038-0385
PURE UUID: 1ce06774-e62b-4855-9d01-d6230e9d5f44

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Date deposited: 16 May 2011 14:32
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:47

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Author: Bindi Shah
Author: Claire Dwyer
Author: Tariq Modood

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