Moving between the fields. On the role of family in the experiences of intergenerational upward mobility
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Instytut Nauk Społecznych, Uniwersytet SWPS, Polska
Submission date: 2023-05-15
Final revision date: 2023-08-03
Acceptance date: 2023-08-28
Online publication date: 2023-10-12
Corresponding author
Justyna Kajta   

Instytut Nauk Społecznych, Uniwersytet SWPS, Chodakowska 19/31, 03-815, Warszawa, Polska
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2023;61(2):1–22
Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1987) conceptual toolkit of capitals, fields, and habitus, this paper examines intergenerational upward mobility experiences in Poland focusing on the family's role. Specifically, this study uses grounded theory methodology (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, Charmaz, 2006) and biographical method (Schütze 1992) to investigate the life stories of individuals in their thirties and forties who have experienced upward mobility and entered one of three prestigious professional fields: academic, artistic, or business. The analysis of 30 biographical-narrative interviews reveals four main scenarios of parental involvement in upward mobility processes: (a) general encouragement, (b) ambition-driven guidance, (c) multifaceted withdrawal, and (d) hesitant observation. To illustrate the complexity of these scenarios, each one is accompanied by a biographical case study highlighting the interplay between various public and private factors that shape upward mobility paths. These cases also demonstrate the role of family capitals and their potential (mis)match with recognized capitals in specific professional fields.
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