CGG Lecture Series “Dynamiken sozialer Netzwerke”: Educational Decisions and the Role of Social Networks (08.05.2013)

CGG Lecture Series “Dynamiken sozialer Netzwerke”

Mi. 8. Mai 2013, 18 Uhr
Hörsaal J, Hauptgebäude,
Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1

Prof. Sue Heath, Ph.D.
University of Manchester

Educational Decisions and the Role of Social Networks

This paper will focus on a research project which sought to understand the educational decisionmaking of adults through exploring the positioning of these adults within their broader social networks rather than viewing educational decision making as an individualised process. To achieve this, we adopted a qualitative social network approach and conducted in-depth interviews not just with egos but with nominated members of their networks, achieving a sample of 107 individuals across 16 different networks. Through researching the socially embedded and co-constructed nature of educational narratives, our research highlighted the different forms of social capital which were utilised within particular social networks. It also illustrated how decisions about potential participation in formal and informal education were deeply rooted in shared intergenerational understandings of the value of different educational and occupational pathways. This approach not only highlighted the complexity of educational decision-making, but also the tensions, contradictions and moments of solidarity which occurred within networks.

Sue Heath is a Professor of Sociology and a co-director of the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life at the University of Manchester.

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