Post-secondary educational pathways of young people in Hong Kong: the influence of cultural capital

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Journal Article

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Social mobility, Academic achievement, Education--Philosophy, Educational planning--Social aspects


An earlier research project, conducted during 2008 to 2010, investigated the influence of cultural capital on post-secondary educational pathways of young people in Hong Kong, using the perspective of education, cultural and social reproduction of Pierre Bourdieu, the French sociologist of education, as the main theoretical framework. The research was conducted within Hong Kong's political, social, cultural and educational contexts, which have been undergoing changes since Britain ended its colonial rule and China resumed sovereignty on 1st July 1997. Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of cultural capital were used to study the extent of the influence of these changes on the post-secondary educational pathways of teenage girls in Hong Kong.

This article reflects on the local educational landscape and issues arisen, in relation to the government's policy initiatives and the vastly fast expansion of the self-financed post-secondary education sectors since the completion of this research in 2010. Some issues and challenges include access and equity concerns; privatization of secondary education; entitlement versus perpetuation of social inequalities;neoliberal massification of higher education; and the growth of professional vocational education. In conclusion, noting the global powerful impact of information technologies and the social media, the article shares a need to review concepts of knowledge and learning, which may include citizenship education especially for young people in Hong Kong in the midst of political and social unrest in recent months. A novel definition of cultural capital (and social capital), and thus its affected influence on the post-secondary educational pathways of young people will be an interesting topic for future research in Hong Kong.

Source Publication

International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning

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