05 SES 04 B, School Disaffection
Parallel Paper Session
Our paper is concerned with the school differentiation and the formation and persistence of pro/anti-school attitudes in urban schools, and the role of motivation and pro-school attitudes in school achievement.
Researchers have long argued that racial/ethnic /class gaps in educational achievement are often due to peer pressure effects and the emergence of particular ‘anti-school culture’ of working class and/or minority students in schools. After seminal studies by Paul Willis of ‘anti-authority’ subculture and John Ogbu of ‘oppositional culture’ the research in this area was polarized into two distinct trends: urban ethnography and quantitative sociology of large-scale surveys.
We approach this problem from the vantage point of social network analysis which has the advantage of grasping local contextual effects and doing it with statistical rigor. While research on differentiation-polarization was focused on individual and school level (working class vs. middle class, vocational vs. academic track etc.), we look at the emergence and persistence of anti-school culture in students' small crowds (cliques) rather than on school level. We identify cliques in class networks and use them as a level of analysis anti-school attitudes along with individual and schools.
In our research we test the following hypotheses:
H 1. Socio-economic differentiation of schools leads to the rise of anti-school attitudes in small disadvantaged schools (in accordance with differentiation-polarization theory). Smaller schools with lower aggregate SES have higher anti-school attitudes. High level of anti-school attitudes negatively influence GPA controlled by family SES (= school effects).
H 2. Peer pressure effects are stronger in social networks rather than on school or class level, and students form groups within schools based on anti-school attitudes and educational plans. There is homophily on anti-school attitudes. Network effects on anti-school attitudes are stronger than school effects.
Ainsworth-Darnell, J.W., Downey, D.B. (1998). Assessing the Oppositional Culture Explanation for Racial/Ethnic Differences in School Performance. American Sociological Review 63: 536-553 Downey, D.B., Ainsworth-Darnell, J.W. (2002) The Search for Oppositional Culture among Black Students. American Sociological Review. Vol. 67, No. 1, pp. 156-164 Farkas, G. (2002) Does Oppositional Culture Exist in Minority and Poverty Peer Groups? American Sociological Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, pp. 148-155 Fryer, R.G., Torelli, P. (2005) An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White. NBER Working Paper 11334. Lucas, S.R. Stratification Theory, Socioeconomic Background, and Educational Attainment: A Formal Analysis, Rationality and Society November 2009 vol. 21 no. 4 459-511 Stark, T., Flache, A. (2011) The Double Edge of Common Interest: Ethnic Segregation as an Unintended Byproduct of Opinion Homophily. Sociology of Education - firstonline - published on December 19, 2011 as doi:10.1177/0038040711427314
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