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Title: Schooling and life projects : experiences and perspectives of migrant and minority ethnic youth in England and Spain
Author: Jørgensen, Clara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 3647
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is a discussion of the way young people of migrant and minority ethnic background experience schooling and plan for their futures within two different national contexts - England and Spain. It is based on a comparative and ethnographic fieldwork which I carried out in Birmingham and Madrid over the course of 14 months in 2007-2009. As part of the research, I did particular observation at a school in each city and interviewed a total of 54 young people. The thesis presents how they described their life at school, their plans and wishes for the future, and the influences which they considered important to their schooling and future lives. The education of migrant and minority ethnic groups is a topic that increasingly appears in public and political debates in Europe. Reports and research often describe education as crucial to socio-economic well-being and empowerment, but they also show a tendency among migrant and minority ethnic groups to be disadvantaged in terms of education. The literature presents a number of ways to understand this phenomenon and shows that schooling is affected by many complex and interlinking issues. Comparative research has good potential for exploring these complexities, but there is a gap within the existing comparative literature. Most comparative studies of migrant and minority ethnic youth in education are quantitative and analyse the situation of either large categories of young people or distinct ethnic or national groups. Furthermore, these studies focus almost exclusively on achievement and attainment. Thus, there is a lack of qualitative comparative research, which explores how young people from a variety of ethnic or national backgrounds experience schooling and plan for their future, and which discusses their experiences from a more holistic and contextual perspective. In this thesis I respond to this gap. I analyse the experiences of young people from a mixture of ethnic and national backgrounds. The data has been collected using qualitative ethnographic research methods. Finally, the findings are shaped by my informants’ narratives and perceptions and this has given the thesis a broader perspective than the traditional focus on achievement and attainment. The main findings arising from the data was the importance of social relations in influencing young people’s schooling experiences and life projects. Friends and family were described as particularly influential in providing support and socio-emotional wellbeing. In the thesis I analyse these findings through the lens of social capital. I argue that socio-emotional well-being should be considered a resource in itself and included in social capital theory. However, the analysis also shows that young people of migrant and minority ethnic origin do not all have the same conditions for accessing this ‘resource of well-being’. The thesis therefore concludes with a number of practical recommendations, aimed to improve the inclusion and general well-being of migrant and minority ethnic youth in schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; LB Theory and practice of education