Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Girls and their ambitions : a sociological study of educational aspirations
Author: Fuller, Carol Louise
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Debate on the effects of class on educational attainment is well documented and typically centres on the reproductive nature of class. Class based theory focuses primarily on the role of structure and/or agency in education, and studies of the effect of class on aspirations typically predicts outcomes that see education reinforcing and reproducing a student's class background. Despite a number of UK government initiatives to help raise higher education participation to fifty per cent by 2010, for the working class numbers have altered relatively little. In large part this has been explained as the result of working class students suffering 'a poverty of aspiration'. Despite this, however, some working class students do aspire to higher education and some do 'make it'. Using data from an ethnographic case study of an underachieving girls' school in England, I attempt to understand and explain why some students aspire to higher education whilst others do not, even when they share similar social characteristics. I argue that whilst class is very powerful in explaining educational attainment, understanding aspirations is somewhat more complex. I suggest that the interplay of class alongside other equally important factors including for example, gender, ethnicity, trust, emotional support and self confidence and identification is what shapes attitudes and aspirations and is what explains why some working class girls aspire more highly than others. I conclude that whilst undeniably embedded in a social and economic context that is structured, aspirations are shaped individually and are influenced by a student's own biography. Therefore, whilst economic constraints for example, might seriously hinder the aspirations of one student, paradoxically they compel another to achieve.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available