Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blog Post #2

Topic: Confirmed 

My topic has not differed much, rather expanded. In my last blog post, I explored two different topics-- one about how the socioeconomic status and demographic of parents shaped their child's career in higher education and their social mobility or lack thereof. My other topic was about how the privatization of higher education jeopardizes the freedom of lower income students. I have now decided to combine the two because I realized they are essentially the same. I will stick with my first topic, and instead talk about how a lower income student's freedom is jeopardized BECAUSE of his or her parents' socioeconomic backgrounds.

I looked up a few sources online. The keywords that seemed most helpful to me in my search were socioeconomic, low income students, and privatization. One study by Jean-Claude Croizet and Theresa Claire seemed especially helpful, as well as books by JR Betts and another by DM Gollnick. The title of the article by Croizet and Claire was Extending the Concept of Stereotype Threat to Social Class: The Intellectual Underperformance of Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds.

A few of the articles that I skimmed mentioned how the IDEA that those from lower classes are less capable and the stereotypes we still have about minorities in this country affect their chances of success-- just the way others THINK about them. I have taken sociology courses before and, statistically speaking, the lives of people coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds are pretty much planned out for them-- they will fall victim to the same fate as that of their parents. Reading things like this realize that this issue in education goes much deeper and is much more complex to solve than I originally thought (although I had an inkling).
This is the study I mentioned previously. This study talks about how stereotypes negatively affect low socioeconomic students more than we know. This study aimed to prove that low SES students were expected to claim more impediments to their performance before taking the test because of their apprehension for validating a negative stereotype. This did not prove true in the study, and the introductory parts of the study contained a lot of valuable information.


  1. I like the "stereotype threat" article, and that is a useful term for analysis and one that has produced a lot of academic research. Armstrong and Hamilton cover a lot of important territory with regards to the multiple advantages of more affluent students, which they describe as forms of capital (following the work of Bordieu), including "parental resources" and "inherited merit," and the multiple challenges faced by less affluent students, which generally result from their lack of parental resources and other forms of capital. You might see this as exploring the multiple ways that advantage and disadvantage are stratified in society.

  2. It occurs to me, by the way, that "stereotype threat" may be an explanation for what Armstrong and Hamilton call "The Vampire Effect" observed on the dorm floor -- see Chapter 4, The Floor, pp. 98-107. I had someone last term who wrote about it as the result of "Social Comparison Theory." See here:

    Her view basically reversed that of Armstrong and Hamilton, who tended to blame the more affluent as a cause. Social Comparison theory suggests that the problems of the less affluent are somewhat self-inflicted, as they recognize that they can't "keep up with the Joneses" across the hall. I like "stereotype threat," which seems like more of a two-way process.

    Something to think about.

    1. By the way, if you switch to that "Skull and Bones" idea, let me know soon before I make groups.