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Title: Family capital, ethnicity and education : Greek-Cypriots in North London
Author: Hadjigeorgiou, Demetris George
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 0297
Awarding Body: City University
Current Institution: City, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This project is a qualitative study based on forty-three interviews I conducted with Greek- Cypriot parents in North London, and five interviews with key community workers. The interviews investigated the extent to which the parents used family capital to help their children academically. Recent work has examined the degree to which ethnic minority communities generate family capital with the purpose of providing an environment which facilitates their children's educational achievement. The central idea behind family capital is that parents belong to ethnic communities which attach great value to the educational achievement of their youths and, therefore, take actions to make their children academically successful, in the process overcoming structural inequalities which might otherwise hinder their academic trajectories. Although a relatively new theoretical development, family capital chimes with the idea, prevalent in both academic literature and wider public discourse, of the immigrant drive for their children to succeed academically. Family capital consists of a combination of social capital and economic capital and has three components, which will form the basis of the data chapters: parents being embedded in ethnic communities which demand educational success, which motivates them to instil values of academic achievement into their children; parents having a preference for their children to mix with co-ethnics due to the similarity of norms which exist in these networks; and the prioritisation of economic spending by families on education. Greek-Cypriots are a good group with which to explore these themes as they have been identified as possessing these attributes. This thesis, however, will demonstrate some limitations regarding how far the parents utilised family capital, pointing in particular to two key factors: the social class of the parents affecting the help they could give to their children; and a level of gender discrimination against the education of girls. Moreover, when social and economic capital were used, they were often directed towards fulfilling other, non-educational goals, as parents felt these goals were extremely important, sometimes vital, for their children to make successful transitions to adulthood; and many parents felt they had greater influence over these goals than their children's academic performance. When considering how social capital was utilised, particular emphasis will be placed on how parents developed trust for their children to be in multi-ethnic networks, thereby offering a rejoinder to work which sees social capital as the preserve of homogeneous communities. It is felt that these points illustrate some limitations in depictions of ethnic minority communities as viewing academic success as the 'be all and end all' of what they want from their children, and of generating the family capital necessary to help their children succeed educationally. viii
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available