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ERIC Number: EJ812051
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-7761
Dimensions of Psychological Capital in a U.S. Suburb and High School: Identities for Neoliberal Times
Demerath, Peter; Lynch, Jill; Davidson, Mario
Anthropology & Education Quarterly, v39 n3 p270-292 Sep 2008
In this article, we describe the identities of U.S. suburban high school students as they attempt to ensure their "market relevance" in a neoliberal era. The data are drawn from a four-year ethnographic study of the construction of educational advantage conducted by a diverse five-person research team. These identities were characterized by strong agentic beliefs, predispositions to exert control, deeply held attachments to individual success, highly developed self-advocacy skills, precociously circumscribed aspirations, keen awareness of new forms of cultural capital, self-consciously cultivated work ethics, and habituation to stress and fatigue. The study uncovered gender and racial differences in the acquisition of specific components of these identities, which are attributed in part to larger contextual factors, such as the subordination of the school's efforts to meet the needs of minority students to its broader goals of remaining competitive. Overall, we interpret these identity characteristics as components of psychological capital that these young people developed to manage risks: in particular, their ability to achieve "success" in a future characterized by acute competition, declining social support, and uncertainty.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A