Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

English as a foreign language and cultural capital in South Korea: A mixed methods study
by Seo, Eun Hi, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2010, 188; 3398939
Abstract (Summary)

Relying on Bourdieu’s cultural reproduction theory, this mixed methods study examined the direct and indirect trajectories of social and economic benefits in the home in improving ninth and college-track twelfth graders English language performance, focusing on their participation in cultural capital activities.

Employing the nationally representative secondary panel data from the Korean Education and Employment Panel Survey in 2004, I examined the relationship between cultural capital and self-rated English performance. Then, I conducted interviews with Korean participants who had learned English as a foreign language until high school, recruiting four Korean young adults in the U.S. and two in Korea to provide in-depth information on social symbolic meanings of the English language and its relevance to social upward mobility.

Quantitative results revealed: (a) Ninth graders and twelfth graders’ cultural capital participation has a significant effect on self-rated English performance, even though degree of cultural capital effect becomes weaker as students’ grade level increases. (b) For ninth graders, there is a significant difference in the degree of cultural capital consumption and in the kinds of cultural capital used among different income groups, suggesting that students of high-income families benefit more from the use of cultural capital than their counterpart peers in furthering English performance. Qualitative results offered further explanations on: (a) decreasing effects of cultural capital on EFL performance for twelfth graders; (b) cases of cultural capital resources and how they effect EFL learning; (c) social symbolic meanings of EFL performance that strengthen social upward mobility and that confer prestigious social symbolic status; (d) social demands for EFL standardized test scores in current labor market.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Agee, Jane Murray
Commitee: Kouba, Vicky, Meskill, Carla
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Educational Theory and Practice-Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Bilingual education, English as a Second Language, Foreign Language
Keywords: Bourdieu, Pierre, Cultural capital, EFL, English as a Foreign Language, Korea, Mixed methods study
Publication Number: 3398939
ISBN: 978-1-109-73392-1
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