Beyond family and ethnic culture: Understanding the preconditions for the potential realization of social capital

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Abstract

This article extends our conceptual understanding of social capital and school achievement through a comparative race and ethnic approach. Using the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) 1988-1990 panel, this article develops a more comprehensive understanding of school achievement by exploring circumstances, which the authors call "preconditions," leading to the potential for the realization of social capital. These "preconditions" are used to explain academic engagement disparities between Southeast Asian, Black, Mexican, and White high school youth. Whereas previous research on social capital leaves the mechanism through which social capital influences school outcomes unspecified, this study focuses on a behavior associated with positive educational outcomes-time per week spent on homework outside of school. Although preconditions for parental capital appear to have some influence on students' study behavior, so too do preconditions between and within schools, such as peers and teachers. This research shows that relationships outside the family-that is, within and between school opportunities for social capital-play a significant role in explaining variation between the four ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1166
Number of pages31
JournalYouth and Society
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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