The back pocket map: Social class and cultural capital as transferable assets in the advancement of second-generation immigrants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This article moves beyond current understandings of family- and school-related dynamics used to explain the educational and occupational success of low-income immigrant children to investigate the role of cultural capital acquired in the country of origin. Class-related forms of knowledge obtained prior to migration can become invaluable assets in areas of destination through the realization of what Pierre Boutdieu calls habitus, that is, a series of embodied dispositions deployed by individuals in their pursuit of set objectives. Although the concept has attracted prolonged attention, the mechanisms by which the habitus is fulfilled remain unspecified. Here, the author proposes and examines three of those mechanisms: (1) cognitive correspondence, (2) positive emulation, and (3) active recollection. This study shows that class-related resources, such as education, self-definition, and remembrance of nation and ancestry play an important function, shaping youthful expectations and behaviors, and protecting the children of low-income immigrants from downward mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-137
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume620
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

Keywords

  • Active recollection
  • Cognitive correspondence
  • Cultural capital
  • Immigrant children
  • Positive emulation
  • Social class

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