- The authors:
Lee Trevor Tsz-lok
- Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
- Pages: 656-665
- Section: EDUCATIONAL MOBILITY AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY
- URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/656-665/
Abstract. Growing inequality within and across the advanced capitalist
countries has been among the top concerns of both social scientists and
politicians today. An extensive literature on class stratification shows that
parental influence on child outcomes is crucial for sustaining class
inequality. However, the mechanism underlying the class effects is far from
conclusive. One main debate in the existing literature centers on a question
of whether class-specific parenting practices in reproducing inequalities is
cultural or structural-the ‘cultural logic of childrearing’ (Lareau, 2011) or
class resources play a pivotal role in the class disparities. Alternatively, this
study adopts Sewell’s (1992) concept of the multiplicity of structures to
understand how both cultural and structural elements of the class processes
are interrelated. In addition, the class difference of parenting in the context
of Hong Kong has been under-researched. Notably characterized by the
hyper-competitive and hybrid cultural educational context, and the deeply
unequal society, the Hong Kong case can be an analytical leverage for the
cross-cultural comparison of class-specific parenting practices. Drawing on
semi-structured interviews with 15 Chinese parents in Hong Kong,
therefore, the present study is to analyze complex processes in which social
class shapes parenting values and practices.
The preliminary findings of this on-going study point to the subtle
differences of parental values and practices in relation to class positions.
Regardless of class backgrounds, all the parent respondents emphasized the
intensive parenting to greater or lesser degree. Their values in parenting
were rather ambivalent. On the one hand, they had high aspirations for their
children’s future educational attainment (at least completing a university
education). As a result, both middle-class parents and parents from the
lower class tended to use a similar set of intensive parenting strategies to
foster their children’s cognitive and noncognitive development. On the other
hand, they also valued a fulfilling and happy life for their children. At times,
these two types of values are conflicting with each other when being put
into practice. Middle-class parents were more likely to see them as a matter
of choice between a more intensive parenting and a more hands-off one.
Conversely, due to the resources limitation, most lower-class parents were
struggling with the academic demands of intensive parenting strategies.
When they found that they failed to have the desired impact on their
children’s academic outcomes, they tended to interpret that as a ‘fate’ or as
a result of placing a high value on child’s happiness. In other words, despite
that they may be similar in their attempts to foster their children in an
intensive parenting style, middle-class parents and lower-class parents from
the lower class tended to have different ways to make sense of their
parenting experiences and struggles.
Keywords: parenting; social class; inequality; Hong Kong
Lee Trevor Tsz-lok
The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8081-720X
Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction : a social critique of the judgement of taste.
(Translated by Richard Nice). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Calarco, J. M. 2014. The Inconsistent Curriculum: Cultural Tool-Kits and
Student Interpretations of Ambiguous Expectations. Social Psychology
Carolan, B.V. 2016. Unequal academic achievement in high school: the
mediating roles of concerted cultivation and close friends. British Journal of
Sociology of Education37(7): 1034-1055.
Chen, W., Wong, Y. 2015. Chinese mindset: theories of intelligence, goal
orientation, and academic achievement in Hong Kong Students. Educational
Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational
Chin, T., Phillips, M. 2004. Social reproduction and child-rearing practices:
Social class, children’s agency, and the summer activity gap. Sociology of
Creswell, J.W., Miller, D.L. 2000. Determining validity in qualitative
inquiry. Theory into practice39(3): 124-130.
Dermott, E., Pomati, M. 2016. ‘Good’ Parenting Practices: How Important
are Poverty, Education and Time Pressure. Sociology. 50(1): 125-142.
Devine, F. 2004. Class practices: How parents help their children get good
jobs. Cambridge University Press.
Hamilton, L.T. 2016. Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for
College Women’s Success. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hendrick, H. 2016. Narcissistic Parenting in an Insecure World: A History
of Parenting Culture 1920s to the Present. Chicago: Policy Press.
Hegna, K., Smette, I. 2017. Parental influence in educational decisions:
young people’s perspectives. British Journal of Sociology of Education
Lee, T.T.L., Chiu, S.W.K. 2016. Curriculum reform and the social class
achievement gap. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 12(2): 148-165.
Irwin, S. 2017. Parenting teenagers as they grow up: Values, practices and
young people’s pathways beyond school in England. The Sociological
Irwin, S., Elley, S. 2013. Parents’ hopes and expectations for their children’s
future occupations. The Sociological Review61(1): 111-130.
Jack, A.A. 2016. (No) Harm in Asking Class, Acquired Cultural Capital,
and Academic Engagement at an Elite University. Sociology of Education
Johnston, B., 2007. Class/Culture/Action: Representation, Identity, and
Agency in Educational Analysis. In: J. A. Van Galen and G. W. Noblit
(Eds.), Late to Class: Social Class and Schooling in the New Economy,
Albany, State University of New York Press, pp, 29-54.
Lareau, A. 2003. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life.
Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lareau, A. 2011. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. 2nd
ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lareau, A., Weininger, E.B. 2003. Cultural capital in educational research:
A critical assessment. Theory and society32: 567-606.
Matsuoka, R. 2019. Concerted Cultivation Developed in a Standardized
Education System. Social Science Research77: 161-178.
Mitchell, J.C. 1983. Case and Situation Analysis. The Sociological Review
Reay, D. 1998. Class work: Mothers’ involvement in their children’s primary
schooling. London: Taylor & Francis.
Kwan, P., Wong, Y. 2016. Parental involvement in schools and class
inequality in education: Some recent findings from Hong Kong.
International Journal of Learning and Pedagogies, Special Issue: Parental
Roksa, J., D. Potter. 2011. Parenting and Academic Achievement:
Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Advantage. Sociology of
Savage, M., Devine, F., Cunningham, N., Taylor, M., Li, Y., Hjellbrekke, J.,
Le Roux, B., Friedman, S., Miles, A. 2013. A new model of social class?
Findings from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey experiment. Sociology
Sewell, W.H. 1992. A theory of structure: Duality, agency, and
transformation. American Journal of Sociology98(1): 1–29.
Sherman, R. 2017. Conflicted cultivation: Parenting, privilege, and moral
worth in wealthy New York families. American Journal of Cultural
Small, M.L. 2009. ‘How many cases do I need?’ On science and the logic of
case selection in field-based research. Ethnography10(1): 5-38.
Sullivan, A., Ketende, S., Joshi, H. 2013. Social class and inequalities in
early cognitive scores. Sociology 47(6): 1187-1206.
Tsang, W.K. 1997. From exclusionary elitism to segregated elitism: the
latent structure of the development of 9-year Compulsory Education in
Hong Kong. Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, The Chinese
University of Hong Kong (In Chinese).
Underhill, M.R. 2018. White parents and exposure to diversity parenting
practices. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. Advanced online publication.
Vincent, C., Maxwell, C. 2016. Parenting priorities and pressures:
Furthering understanding of ‘concerted cultivation’. Discourse: Studies in
the cultural politics of education 37(2): 269-281.
Wong, Y. 2017, Class Differentials in getting Parental Assistance for
seeking a Second Chance of getting into University: An illustration of
Community College Students in Hong Kong. Higher Education74:163-178.
Wong, Y., Koo Anita, 2016. ‘Is Hong Kong no longer a land of
opportunities after the 1997 handover? : A comparison of patterns of social
mobility between 1989 and 2007’ Asian Journal of Social Science 44(4-5):516-545.
Wu, X.G. 2007, Family Resources and Educational Stratification: The Case
of Hong Kong, 1981-2001. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies
Volume 3: 173-201.