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ERIC Number: ED162942
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Sep
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Pursuing the Good Life: Communities as Developmental Contexts for Upwardly Mobile Youth.
Steinitz, Victoria
This study explored the effect of community background on the development of adolescent ambition, using longitudinal interviews to probe subjects' own definitions and evaluations of progress toward the "good life." Sixty high ability working class youths from three New England towns varying in size, urban proximity, and social class composition, were interviewed in their senior year of high school and again three to four years later. All youths perceived entry into high school as a critical juncture in the development of their ambition and all planned on college as a means to upward mobility. However, the youths' pursuit of mobility showed many different experiences. In the small working class town, students felt personally supported by both high school and parents and viewed occupational mobility and small town life as desirable and compatible. Going away to college introduced them to diversity, stimulating an interest in personal growth and a devaluation of small town life. In the larger working class city, students found the high school very unsupportive and relied on adults outside the school system, primarily family, for reinforcement. As commuting college students, they had to work hard at balancing the competing demands of school, family, and friends. In the middle class town, students experienced an academic status loss as they entered high school and found themselves to be in vulnerable social positions. These experiences triggered early self questioning. For these students, self doubts, community estrangement, and the search for congruence between personal and occupational goals intensified at college. The paper concludes with a discussion of the developmental processes through which socioeconomic and community variables are translated into effects upon individuals. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: New England
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, California, September 4-8, 1978)