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Title: The role of social capital in students' educational outcomes and school experiences : toward a contextualised understanding
Author: Papapolydorou, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 3331
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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This PhD thesis investigates the role of social capital in the educational outcomes and school experiences of teenage students. Social capital is mapped in relation to the context of the school, the family and the community, as it is experienced and reported by Year 12 students. The main focus of the study is on the contribution of social capital to educational outcomes, such as students' exam attainment, their decision to go to university or not and the process followed to choose and apply to universities. In addition, students' experiences within the school are discussed with particular reference to friendship formation. A primary concern of this study is to understand the role of social capital within contextualised frameworks by taking into consideration factors such as the social class, the ethnic background and the gender of the participants as well as the overall ethnic composition of the participating schools. This research employed mixed methods of collecting and analysing data. A survey questionnaire was administered to approximately 250 students and in-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 60 students. The data was collected from four ethnically diverse London secondary schools. The findings of this thesis suggest that social capital influences students' education and school experiences to a certain extent, however, it does not work in the same way for all social groups. Conversely, the nature and influence of social capital, as a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional concept, are strongly mediated by social class, ethnicity and gender and in some cases by the ethnic composition of the school. For instance, social class and ethnicity exercise a central role in the way students form their friendships within the schools and the way parents mobilise social capital in order to enhance their children's educational outcomes. The thesis concludes that these contextual characteristics, namely social class, ethnicity and gender, significantly shape the character of social capital and its influence on students' education and school experiences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available