Monday, April 10, 2017

Research Blog #7: Frame

Key Concepts:

  1. Lani Guinier - testocratic merit 
  2. Armstrong and Hamilton - social class mobility 
  3. Pierre Bourdieu - forms of capital (financial, cultural, social) 
The central focus of my research is how the current climate of testocratic meritocracy in higher education severely restricts upward class mobility for students in lower socioeconomic standing with limited class resources." The thesis draws from three different concepts: testocratic merit, forms of capital, and social class mobility. Testocratic merit is a term coined by Lani Guinier in her book The Tyranny of the Meritocracy. She herself draws from the original use of the term meritocracy in higher education by Michael Young, who argues that social commentary can not be separated from academic recruitment. Guinier explicated how the use of merit as a standard used by admissions offices can not measure intelligence because the merits they use come are wealth based. Standardized tests, like the SATs, simply measure parental weatlh rather than their intended measure of ability. The drift from the once mission-driven goals of admissions offices have creates a climate of testocracy. 

The second concept of my thesis highlights Armstrong and Hamilton's analytic term: social class mobility. This term, from "Paying for the Party" is important to understand as it describes how those with limited resources are less prone to upward mobility, even with academic success. The upward pathway is distorted as the already wealthy are typically more prone to mobility, while those in the lower class are confound to their class or greatly restricted by many obstacles. The authors further explicate it with the idea of social closure and social class reproduction among classes, contributing to the lack for upward class mobility. 

The final concept in my thesis draws on another term from Armstrong and Hamilton. Limited class resources refers to the resources of determined students' parental class. This term is defined by Pierre Bourdieu's dimensions of capital. The three forms of capital defined by Bourdieu are financial, cultural, and social. Higher amounts of the three parental class capitals greatly advantage students in higher education. The forms are interdependent, as high amounts of one form of capital typically indicated wealth in the other two, as well. 

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