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High Expectations: Black professional parents' aspirations for their children

Adewumi, Barbara (2015) High Expectations: Black professional parents' aspirations for their children. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:50879)

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Abstract

Qualitative research on education and aspirations has been produced with the sole focus on the reproduction of class inequalities within a White middle class structure. There has only been a handful of studies of analytic engagement with Black professional middle class parents' expectations and aspirations regarding their children's futures in Britain. This gap creates an opportunity for new research to gain deeper insight into what decisions and choices are made by Black professional middle class parents and bring to light important knowledge of professional middle class educational attainment.

The research presented here explored how Black professional middle class parents’ construct strategic approaches towards creating better futures for their children within a predominantly White middle class structure. Drawing on primary data taken from interviews with 25 Black African and Black Caribbean middle class parents’ (half from African or Caribbean heritage) , this thesis analyses parents’ strategic decision making and navigation in an unequal playing field of education. Findings indicate adaptations of Bourdieu’s social, cultural and economic capitals to prepare and engage their children along certain pathways in order to create aspirational opportunities. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) it is argued that while class is very influential in explaining educational attainment, understanding Black professional middle class parents’ aspirations for their children requires a deeper understanding of race. Evidence from in-depth narratives provided an insight into parents' own biographies that were either originally working or middle class backgrounds in shaping their orientations to, and manner of engagement with, their children's futures. Drawing from the data middle class parents were beginning to be geographically mobile, moving out of inner London areas in search of a better quality of life for their children and a preferred school choice – with a higher quality of education found around the surrounding areas of London and the South East suburbs. Parents’ subjective biographies illustrated diverse parenting practices and values such as those sets of parents using their Christian faith to help build a solid foundation for moral values, self-confidence and respectability. The research offers new insights into the choices made and strategic approaches used to nurture high aspirations for Black professional middle class children’s futures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Ray, Larry J.
Thesis advisor: Lyon, Dawn
Uncontrolled keywords: Bourdieu Critical Race Theory Black Middle Class Aspirations School choice
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ755 Popular works. Guidebook for parents > HQ755.8 Parents. Parenthood
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/50879 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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