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Marginality and motivation in the life course models of German Turkish youths in Berlin

Date: 
Wed, 09/03/2011 - 00:00 to 13:30

Location: 
The Melton Centre for Jewish Education
Dr. Julia Eksner (Post Doctorant Fellow from Berlin)
This talk presents an analysis of the local meaning system embedding the educational
goals of a group of German Turkish youths characterized by few structural
opportunities. It describes and scrutinizes the curious case of youths who find
themselves in the lowest track of the German education system and who do not select
educational goals considered appropriate to their tracking. Education researchers – in
Germany as well as other European countries and the United States - are baffled by
the fact that despite the marginal chances that low-achieving students will have to
graduate with high grades, or move up within the tiers of the tracking system, they
consistently report educational goals tied to the higher tracks or tertiary education
(Mickelson, 1990). This article investigates these seemingly paradoxical aspirations
by broadening the unit of analysis from decontextualized educational goals to mental
models about educational goals, and perceived barriers in their pursuit. It investigates
the local meaning system of educational  and life course goals of German Turkish
apprenticeship-track students in Germany, and situates this meaning system in the
context of structural constraints that youths perceive in attaining them.
  • Dr. Julia Eksner