Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The "ongoing culture shock" of upward mobility: Cultural capital, symbolic violence and implications for family relationships
by Curl, Heather D., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2013, 339; 3594289
Abstract (Summary)

Social mobility is often viewed as a way to alleviate poverty and create equality; it represents the basis upon which the United States is viewed as a meritocratic nation of opportunity. Missing from this persistent narrative, however, is analysis of the actual experience of social mobility. This qualitative study explores the narratives of individuals as they reflect on their experiences of upward mobility through education. Data include in-depth interviews with 25 individuals with an advanced degree whose parents did not attend college, and 10 individuals who have an advanced degree similar to their parents. This study considers three dimensions of cultural capital—embodied cultural capital associated with how individuals present themselves, linguistic cultural capital associated with how individuals speak and communicate and cultural capital related to taste, beliefs and knowledge, associated with individual’s leisure time choices, food and drink preferences and beliefs about the world. Across data, mobile individuals express the expectation or need to take on the cultural practices and behavior of their new class context. Data suggest that the process through which upwardly mobile individuals experience shifts in culture is more complex than currently conceived. In addition, these changes in culture can lead to internal conflict and difficulty in connection with families of origin; representing the potential costs of upward mobility. Implications include an amendment to cultural mobility research and to current strategies in urban education which position cultural capital as a character trait that can be learned or taken up by individuals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ravitch, Sharon M.
Commitee: Hall, Kathleen D., Lareau, Annette
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Teaching, Learning and Curriculum
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational sociology, Individual & family studies, Social structure, Higher education
Keywords: Advanced degree, American Dream, Cultural capital, Habitus, Social mobility, Upward mobility
Publication Number: 3594289
ISBN: 9781303382789
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