Aspirations And Young People’S Constructions Of Their Futures: Investigating Social Mobility And Social Reproduction

Kate Hoskins, Bernard Barker

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The United Kingdom’s Coalition government has introduced education policy that is focused on increasing the opportunities to promote and advance social mobility for all children within state education. Raising young people’s aspirations through school-based initiatives is a prominent theme within recent policy texts, which are focused on improving educational outcomes and thus advancing social mobility. This article draws on qualitative data from paired interviews with 32 students in two academies to first investigate if our participants’ aspirations indicate a desire for intragenerational social mobility and second, to explore our participants’ perceptions of the influences of their family background on their aspirations for the future. Analysis of our data highlights the mismatch between our participants’ aspirations for the future and the government’s constructions of what they should aspire to, as articulated in policy texts. By investigating aspirations, as part of a wider project to understand social mobility qualitatively, our data shows the important role of family in shaping our participants’ varied and diverse aspirations that are frequently at variance with government policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016

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