Lade Inhalt...

Migration Aspiration

Why migrants can't translate their high aspirations into educational success

Projektarbeit 2020 18 Seiten

Soziologie - Soziales System, Sozialstruktur, Klasse, Schichtung


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 “The Social Capital Theory“ by Bourdieu

3 State of research and the situation of the Turks

4 Aspiration and its nature
4.1 Theories explaining the Paradox
4.1.1 Immigrant optimism
4.1.2 Information deficits
4.1.3 Social capital in ethical networks
4.1.4 Blocked opportunities
4.2 Why migrants can't translate their high aspirations into educational success
4.2.1 Other disadvantages
4.2.2 Less impact of educational aspirations on migrants
4.3 Summary

5 Conclusion


List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

A third of all children and young adults have a migrant background in Germany. These young people have a lower chance of participating and succeeding in education compared to the majority population (cf. Mediendienst Integration 2020).

There seems to be many factors which are often braided and coexisted when it comes to the analysis of the mechanisms of reproduction in educational disparities. Parental aspira­tion plays an essential role in the child's education and achievement. For example: their parents are less likely to use early childhood education and care, they are less likely to attend grammar school and are less likely to graduate than their fellow students without an immigration background. In addition, their skills in reading, mathematics and science are below average in both primary and secondary schools (cf. Theese et al., 2007, p. 19).

In the long term, educational disadvantage in childhood also influences social participation in adulthood: people with a low educational attainment are more likely to be unemployed or run low-paid tasks. A.s a result, they and their families are more burdened due to financial insecurity. They are also more fragile to physical and mental illness, and affected parents are less able to support their children on their educational path; this will transfer social inequality to the next generation.

This is the main thesis of many empirical works which focus on Bourdieus social capital theory as an explaining factor. In doing so, a direct cause-effect relationship between the chance of obtaining good education and the educational aspiration is being established. This results from the thesis which states that less educated milieus are supposed to have less educational aspirations (cf. Oketch et al., 2012, p. 764).

In this paper i ought to discredit those thesis by showing that the lack of knowledge about the functioning of different educational institutions is rather relevant for educational sucess than the parental aspirations. I would also like to explain the term „migration aspiration“ and include it into the discussion and use it to degrade the thesis “less educated milieus are supposed to have less educational aspirations“ as migrants often come from lower class milieus.

2 “The Social Capital Theory“ by Bourdieu

Bourdieu assumes that society is divided into classes and postulates a social range in which he locates the different classes. The classes vary in the provision of the capital types. A differentiation is made in social, economic and cultural capital. To put it in another way, the social structure is determined by the distribution structure of capital. Time plays a de­cisive role in this. Capital can be collected and partially inherited but it can also be conver­ted into one another. Hereafter social capital and its characteristics will be described. (cf. Bourdieu, 1992, p. 62).

In contrast to cultural as well as economic capital, the social capital is also individually growing, but cannot be thought of without the mutual context. Bourdieu defines the term as the sum of current and potential resources associated with the possession of a permanent network of institutionalized relationships of mutual knowledge or recognition. The instituti­onalized cultural capital is linked to institutionalization, e.g. characterized by the adoption of a common name. The degree of social capital is determined not only by the size of one's own network of people, but also in particular by the size of the social capital of the known. A determination must be made between two different profits, which are deduced from a refurbished relationship based on social capital, in particular material and symbolic. Sym­bolic profits extrapolates their great importance from the fact that one‘s reputation depends on the group members; so a lot of social capital can be won from acquaintance with mem­bers of an ideal and respectful group. Compared to the family, which belongs to the relati­onship, the social group constitutes itself in an institutionalized process, the "institutionali­zation rites". Significant for this process is the transformation of random into permanent relationships, which create a sense of commitment, either based on subjective feelings or institutional guarantees over time. Social capital is reproduced in the form of a group. After the group institutionalizes, its reproduction takes place through the exchange relations the exchange makes the exchanged things a sign of recognition. The contribution of the social capital concept to the problem of inequality of opportunity can be seen in reproduc­tive capacity, similar to the concept of cultural capital. Children with an immigrant back­ground and a low level of education will not have the same access to social capital as those from a family milieu with a high level of education. Following Bourdieus theory, not only the network scope, but especially the prestige of the individual members is decisive for the growth of social capital (cf. Bourdieu, 1983, p. 183-198). If you think about this idea to the end and abstract the term "group" onto social classes, the connection between cultural and social capital becomes clear: a high degree of institutionalized cultural capital in the form of titles lead to a high prestige, which makes it easier for owners to increase their social capital accurate to the slogan " He that has plenty of goods shall have more." (cf. FES 2019).

3 State of research and the situation of the Turks

Many studies in different countries have shown that families with a migrant background have average higher educational aspirations than locals (cf. Kao & Tienda, 1995, p. 1-19). International studies such as PISA show that students with migration background differ greatly from native students regarding their competencies which are required in German educational systems. For example, PISA studies show that migrant students across OECD countries are more than twice as likely as locals to absolve basics in science (cf. OECD 2018). However, children with a migration background tend to show high levels of educati­onal aspirations. Children of migrants favor general over professional education, and enter tertiary education more likely. Although this phenomenon does not apply exclusively to mi­norities with a migrant background, it is attributed to immigrant optimism e.g. similar high levels of education have been reported for Asian-American youth and non-white minorities in the UK (cf. Goyette and Xie, 1999, p. 22 ff.).

The focus in this paper lies on one of the biggest minority groups which belongs to different migration flows and thereby differ on central dimensions of integration and immigration motivation: families from Turkey. The educational aspirations of Turks were explored in different studies. Since the beginning of the 1960s, Turks have come as guest workers to adjust labor shortage, which was experienced in West Germany. The majority of this po­pulation migrated in order to improve their economic situation by earning more money in factories so the motivation of the majority can be described as negatively selected regar­ding their educational, social and economic resources. Originally they expected to be temporary migrants but institutional changes, like the right of family reunion, led to longer stays (cf. Ross, 2009, p. 688). The amount of Turks is the highest with 25 percent among all immigrant groups (cf. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge 2010). On average, after controlling resources in households and school grades, Turkish families indicate higher educational aspirations than locals, which is shown in the above mentioned studies.

The statement of average higher educational expectations of migrants is striking since mig­rants usually tend to have worse social economic positions compared to non-migrants and their children generally tend to be worse at school. That is why there were lower expecta­tions for most immigrant groups. However, it needs to be considered that there are signifi­cant differences between the different groups of migrants in regard of school performance and level of aspiration, and also that there is no discrepancy between educational aspira­tions and outcomes (cf. BMBF 2017).

4 Aspiration and its nature

The nature of aspiring is different, though related to imagining. Imagination is defined as a creative, ethereal concept which may be neither goal-oriented nor related to the self. Indi­vidual aspiration is both goal-oriented and concerns the future of the self or agency of the self in relation of goals concerning others (cf. Hart, 2013, p. 79). The process of formation of students' educational aspirations was widely debated in scientific circles. Most of the academics point out the significance of socio-economic background, academic perfor­mance, expectations and norms of significant others. However, the effect of significant oth­ers for migrant minorities should be investigated taking into account the system of their beliefs, values and action patterns within their social structure as it relates to economic and social equality (cf. Khattab, 2003, p. 286).

4.1 Theories of Explaining the Paradox

Literature discusses some possible causes of the high educational aspirations of migrants and the most important are shortly outlined below. This chapter ends with a short summary of the approaches, in how far they are accurate to the aspirations of Turkish students.

4.1.1 Immigrant optimism

Since the reason for migration is mostly to achieve something and improve living conditi­ons, it is argued that migrants have a positive working moral and ambition. As a result, migrant parents have high demands on their children's educational outcome. Migrant fami­lies are often in low social conditions but see the situation as the price of migration. The most important way to achieve upward mobility is schooling for them (cf. Kao & Tienda, 1995, p. 1 ff.). This argument refers to the theoretical framework of Ogbu, which explains the great variability of the educational outcomes of ethnic minorities, differentiated between voluntary and involuntary minorities. Voluntary migrants, who come in the hope of a better life, see problems and difficulties as temporary. They use their homeland as a benchmark, since conditions have often been tougher, and therefore they see the progress in their living conditions, which also contributes to their optimism. Also, they are optimistic regarding their children's education, as they often perceive the school system in the host country as more progressive than that of their home country. However, when difficulties come up, they often blame them based on their language skills or their familiarity with the country's education system factors that are considered temporary. Involuntary minorities have lived in the host country for generations, are often dissatisfied with their opportunities for upward mo­bility and distrust the educational system. Some studies have shown that the high level of parental education in immigrant families is linked to the experience in their home country (cf. Leenen et al., 1990, p. 753 ff.): Parents often say they did not have the opportunity to attend school e.g. because they had to work early. They want their children to achieve what they themselves could not achieve. These interviews also underline the particularly strong will to increase mobility through education.

Although the argument of the particular optimism of migrants is often mentioned in the literature, it has not been shown that this actually explains differences in educational desi­res between migrants and locals.

4.1.2 Information deficits

Another cause of the high expectations of migrants is the lack of knowledge about the education system. They set high educational targets because they are not sufficiently informed about the requirements and institutional hurdles for these educational pathways. They underestimate the probabilities of higher educational pathways (cf. Relikowski et al., 2009, p. 149 ff.).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
migration aspiration

Titel: Migration Aspiration