Educating for Futures in Marginalized Regions: A sociological framework for rethinking and researching aspirations

Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (3):227-246 (2015)
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Abstract

Abstract‘Raising aspirations’ for education among young people in low socioeconomic regions has become a widespread policy prescription for increasing human capital investment and economic competitiveness in so-called ‘knowledge economies’. However, policy tends not to address difficult social, cultural, economic and political conditions for aspiring, based in structural changes associated with globalization. Drawing conceptually on the works of Pierre Bourdieu, Raymond Williams, Arjun Appadurai and authors in the Funds of Knowledge tradition, this article theorizes two logics for aspiring that are recognizable in research with young people and families: a doxic logic, grounded in populist–ideological mediations; and a habituated logic, grounded in biographic–historical legacies and embodied as habitus. A less tangible third ‘logic’ is also theorized: emergent senses of future potential, grounded in lived cultures, which hold possibility for imagining and pursuing alternative futures. The article offers a sociological framework for understanding aspirations as complex social–cultural phenomena, and for capacitating emergent and hopeful aspirations through school- and community-based research and dialogue.

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