chapter  6
Culture, narratives and upward educational mobility
ByNicolas Legewie
Pages 25

This chapter analyses how narratives can foster upward educational mobility among disadvantaged students. Narratives are people's interpretations of the world: their lives as relatively stable, coherent stories with a setting, a cast of characters, and a sequence of events. Culture has long played an important part in explanations of educational attainment. The authors argue that as part of explanations, culture is best captured using concrete concepts. The immigrant bargain is a prominent example of a narrative that fosters upward educational mobility. The immigrant bargain describes a story of migration experiences that defines a role for students in relation to their parents and siblings: to redeem the parents' sacrifice through their own success. The narrative perspective on cultural explanations of upward educational mobility can be elaborated further in a number of ways. First, as the immigrant bargain is not defined as a precise concept, it is unclear what its main dimensions are and how they are logically connected.