05-09-2020 | Editorial
Invited Commentary: Societal Constraints and Individual Agency: Navigating Educational Transitions for Upward Mobility
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 3/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
This article discusses three empirical studies of the role of individual agency in educational transitions in the conceptual framework of the motivational theory of lifespan development that integrates life-course sociological and life-span psychological perspectives. The educational systems in the U.K., the US, and Switzerland set up specific opportunities and constraints in their primary to secondary and secondary to tertiary educational tracks. Individual agency plays out in different ways in these country- and transition-specific fields of action and accordingly enables or hinders individual youths’ upward mobility. Early transitions into segregated secondary school systems are dominated by the influence of teachers and parents and tend to maintain social inequality. Later transitions into tertiary education are more open to individual agency that can substantially contribute to overcoming social inequalities in college admission. Finally, once enrolled in university, students have comparatively better opportunities to overcome disadvantages of their parents’ socio-economic status and educational background.