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Copy of Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income

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Jessica Watt

on 19 November 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income

Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood
Methodological Strategies
The Findings
Strengths and Weaknesses
Theoretical Framework
Cultural Capital: Pierre Bourdieu
Social failure because of poverty?
(pg. 241)
Social Reproduction Theory
Identifies the interactions with the four types of capital within institutional, structural, and activities that lead to social inequality through multiple generations
Ain't No Makin' It exemplifies the theorists view that while schools believe to do the opposite, they reinforce social inequality
Social Capital: Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis
Linguistic Cultural Capital: Basil Bernstein and Shirley Brice Heath
The Lads and the Ear'oles
by Paul Willis
Theory of student resistance: Henry Giroux
Argues that the educational system reflects and is subject to class structure and relations
It is school that trains the wealthy to take
the roles at the top of the economy while conditioning the poor to fulfill the lower status roles
Cultural capital is defined as "the general cultural background, knowledge, disposition, and skills that are passed from one generation to the next"
The differences between language used at home and that necessary for school can be challenging for working class and students of color
A participant observation of working class, high school males in Britain
He believed that factors that influence job choice was their class background, geographic location, local opportunities, and educational attainment
Culture is a conduit for socioeconomic structures to affect the lives of students
Oppositional behavior comes from moral or political reasons rather than a psychological dysfunction
Two groups: The Hallway Hangers and the Brothers
Hallway Hangers
Eight youths
"You've gotta be bad"
Low educational and career aspirations
Drugs, alcohol, and crime
The Brothers
Seven youths
All attend high school
High career and educational aspirations
Want to get out of poverty
Participant Observation
Jay MacLeod lived and worked within the community for three summers directing a youth program

Already close friends with many residents in Claredon Heights

He gathered data by spending a great deal of time with the boys both during the day and at night
Informal, taped and unrecorded interviews with both groups of boys
Twelve-month observation period in Clarendon Heights in 1983
In school, cultural capital is used to attain superior academic achievement
Focus On:

Family dynamics


Cultural factors

Economic Disadvantage

No matter how hard they try, social inequalities still seem to stop both groups from achieving what they want to. (pg. 240)
Opting out of "the contest" is not a valuable option. Therefore, knowing they are going to fail, they choose incarceration. (pg. 240)
Results based on race, gender and social status
HOWEVER, when stepping back and looking at their lives, social and economic structure are strong uncontrollable influences.
(pg. 159)
Completely immersed in study
Formed relationships with the boys in his study
Learned their day-to-day issues
Created life-long friendships and life changing experiences
Completely immersed in study
Too self-involved
No time away from it
By spending multiple summers there, he was able to watch and help the boys grow
Only focused on boys
"But with class and racial barriers to overcome, I felt
hard-pressed to understand the situation of the boys and would have been totally
incapable of doing justice to the experience of girls because yet another barrier—
gender—would have to be confronted. Already thus handicapped, I felt totally incapable
of considering adolescent girls in Clarendon Heights, whose situation was so far
beyond my own experience."

Please list your ambitions as a future educator.

Only list one goal per line!
Questions from the Activity:

1. Did the opposing group have any influence on the number of goals your group came up with? Why is this relevant?
2. How does this activity relate to the Social Reproduction Theory?
Post-Assessment Questions:
1. How does the Social Reproduction Theory relate to the education sector?
2. Is our current education system creating disparities among individuals in different socioeconomic classes?
3. How does this study relate to standardized testing?
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