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The Educational Trajectories of Second-Generation Students Towards Higher Education: Motivations, Family’s Role and “Institutional” Bias

TitleThe Educational Trajectories of Second-Generation Students Towards Higher Education: Motivations, Family’s Role and “Institutional” Bias
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBozzetti A
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published11/2018
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordshigher education, mixed methods, motivations, parental and institutional influence, second-generation students

Nowadays Italy is experiencing a structural, stable and multigenerational migratory presence in which new generations have been increasingly gaining access to the highest social and educational levels, including university. The educational choices young people make are influenced by their social, cultural and economic background as well as by their parents or other significant adults’ cultural background. This paper aims to examine the challenges and the resources faced by young immigrants when they continue to university. Despite the fact that several researchers explored the presence of second-generation students in primary and secondary schools, the state of research on second- generation students enrolled in Italian Universities is still very poor. After a brief focus on the presence of second-generation students within the Italian university system, the paper will highlight the case of the University of Bologna. Through research that was completed employing a variety of methods, including 537 questionnaires and 30 interviews, the paper aims to explain, through the words of the interviewees, the students’ motivations for the choice of long-term educational paths and the role played by family, teachers and educational institutions in inspiring that choice.