Going up! Discipline and opportunism

Rachel Thomson

in Unfolding lives

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420510
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304104 | DOI:
Going up! Discipline and opportunism

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This chapter explores the account of Sherleen, a second-generation British of African Caribbean descent and the only child of a single mother living in the inner-city of London. Sherleen was interviewed four times between the ages of 13 and 16. The narratives in the chapter are not presented in a singular chronological story; rather they are presented as series of partial narratives, each of which captures a field and part of Sherleen's existence, particularly those that concern education, family, and leisure. These fields, which represent the spaces through which Sherleen's project is constructed, gave rise to the narrative threads of a wider biography. In social policy terms, Sherleen is understood as ‘achieving against the odds’, and her story provides insights into some of the intimate and familial processes involved in the educational success of young black British women.

Keywords: Sherleen; education; family; leisure; black British women; familial processes; educational success

Chapter.  10273 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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