Against the odds? – A study of educational attainment and labour market position of the second-generation ethnic minority members in the UK

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Ethnicities

Author

Yaojun Li

Publication date

Summary

Much research in the UK has shown a close relationship between family position and educational attainment. Yet, this association seems to apply to whites rather than to children from ethnic minority backgrounds who are usually found to outperform whites in spite of their poorer family situation. The classical theories do not give an adequate account of this apparent mismatch as they were designed for the general population. I propose a thesis of ‘reinvigorated ambition’ to try to explain the second-generation drive for success. Drawing data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, I show that multiple disadvantages faced by ethnic minorities in the labour market give pervasive signals to the second generation that they have to aim higher and work harder in order not to fall too low in their life trajectory. The educational success of children from ethnic minority heritages can thus be seen as a determined effort to shield off cumulative discrimination in the labour market and in wider society.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/1468796818777546

ISSN

16

Subjects

Migration, Education, Labour Market, Ethnic Groups, Social Stratification and Higher Education

Links

Notes

Online Early