Title

School-Choice Stories: The Role of Culture

SMC Author

Robert C. Bulman

SMC Affiliated Work

1

Status

Faculty

School

School of Liberal Arts

Department

Sociology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Publication Title

Sociological Inquiry

Description/Abstract

This article uses data from in‐depth interviews conducted with the parents of a sample of 88 ninth‐grade students from public, private, Catholic, and Christian high schools in two different suburban communities. This research investigates the ways in which parents understand education and how they make sense of schooling options for their children. It shows both how families who choose schools make the selection among various alternatives and why some families seem not to choose schools. This research finds that the financial and information resources of families are not enough in and of themselves to explain school‐choice behavior. While these resources are indeed used by families as they make school choices, such measures do not capture the cultural dimension of school choice. In this context culture is understood as the lens through which people make sense of the social world. The decision to activate resources and the direction in which those resources will be activated are mediated by culture. In particular, as these school‐choice stories show, the school‐choice decision is influenced by the past educational experiences of the parents and by their religious faith.

Scholarly

yes

DOI

10.1111/j.1475-682X.2004.00102.x

Volume

74

Issue

4

First Page

492

Last Page

519

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Sociology

Original Citation

Bulman, Robert C. (2004). School-Choice Stories: The Role of Culture. Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 74, Iss. 4. 492-519. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-682X.2004.00102.x

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