Contradiction in Culture: Cultural Capital or Oppositional Culture? Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Kozlowski, Karen Phelan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This study offers a new angle on the study of minority education by examining how student-teacher perceptions of student effort are patterned by race. Educational achievement is unquestionably patterned by race such that aside from Asian students, students of color get lower grades and test scores than white students. Many researchers who study the cultural component of this problem do so under one of two theoretical frameworks: oppositional peer culture or cultural capital mismatch. However, most studies that look at cultural explanations for outcomes focus on student values of education, regardless of the fact that these theories are rooted in understanding and interpreting behavior. Using Swidler's toolkit framework for understanding culture, this study looks at how student-teacher dis/agreement about student work effort reflects either oppositional peer culture frameworks or cultural capital mismatch. I use cross sectional ELS survey data of 15,325 high school sophomores and their teachers to examine two categories of student-teacher dis/agreement: 1) student and teacher agree student is not working hard (oppositional culture) and 2) student thinks s/he is working hard but teacher disagrees (cultural capital mismatch). Using logistic regression, I examine demographic and school context predictors of being in these respective categories, as well as interactions between race/ethnicity and track placement. Results offer partial support for both oppositional culture and cultural capital mismatch. Oppositional behavior is found among black students in college prep math programs only and cultural capital mismatch is found for black, Hispanic, and American Indian/multiracial students.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Sociology."
  • Tyson, Karolyn
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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