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Social Class Differences in Family-School Relationships: The Importance of Cultural Capital

Annette Lareau
Sociology of Education
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Apr., 1987), pp. 73-85
DOI: 10.2307/2112583
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112583
Page Count: 13
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Social Class Differences in Family-School Relationships: The Importance of Cultural Capital
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Abstract

This paper summarizes a qualitative study of family-school relationships in white working-class and middle-class communities. The results indicate that schools have standardized views of the proper role of parents in schooling. Moreover, social class provides parents with unequal resources to comply with teachers' requests for parental participation. Characteristics of family life (e.g., social networks) also intervene and mediate family-school relationships. The social and cultural elements of family life that facilitate compliance with teachers' requests can be viewed as a form of cultural capital. The study suggests that the concept of cultural capital can be used fruitfully to understand social class differences in children's school experiences.

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