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ERIC Number: EJ937312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0142-5692
Aspiration for Global Cultural Capital in the Stratified Realm of Global Higher Education: Why Do Korean Students Go to US Graduate Schools?
Kim, Jongyoung
British Journal of Sociology of Education, v32 n1 p109-126 2011
This study aims to understand Korean students' motivations for studying in US graduate schools. For this purpose, I conducted in-depth interviews with 50 Korean graduate students who were enrolled in a research-centered US university at the time of the interview. In these interviews, I sought to understand how their motivations are connected not only with their family, school, and occupational backgrounds, but also with the stratification of global higher education. Theoretically, this paper attempts to combine the concept of global positional competition with Pierre Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital in the field of global education. By critically examining a push-pull model of transnational higher education choice-making, this study situates Korean students' aspirations in the contexts of global power and the hierarchy of knowledge-degree production and consumption. After analyzing the students' qualitative interviews, I classify their motivations for earning US degrees within four categories: enhancing their class positions and enlarging their job opportunities; pursuing learning in the global center of learning; escaping the undemocratic system and culture in Korean universities; and fulfilling desires to become cosmopolitan elites armed with English communication skills and connections within the global professional network. Based on this analysis, I argue that Korean students pursue advanced degrees in the United States in order to succeed in the global positional competition within Korea as well as in the global job marketplace. As they pursue advanced US degrees, Korean students internalize US hegemony as it reproduces the global hierarchy of higher education, but at the same time Korean students see US higher education as a means of liberation that resolves some of the inner contradictions of Korean higher education, including gender discrimination, a degree caste system, and an authoritarian learning culture. Therefore, this study links Korean students' aspiration for global cultural capital to complex and irregular structures and relations of class, gender, nationality, and higher education that extend across local, national, and global dimensions simultaneously. (Contains 8 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea; United States