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    The Meaning of Success: Young Women and High Academic Achievement in Rapidly Developed Areas. A Comparative Study of Contemporary Rural Vermont, USA and Leinster, Ireland


    Fuller, Wendy Irene (2010) The Meaning of Success: Young Women and High Academic Achievement in Rapidly Developed Areas. A Comparative Study of Contemporary Rural Vermont, USA and Leinster, Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is an in-depth, comparative international study on young women’s high academic achievement in rural Leinster (Ireland) and Vermont (USA). The research analyses how academic achievement is conceptualised as a particular form of cultural and personal capital between the two geographic locations. It also explores how a particular relationship to education and the capital it facilitates one to accrue is systematically operationalised as a means for social and spatial mobility among an unexpected group, young women from blue-collar areas and family backgrounds. Delving into the effects globalisation, capitalism and rapid economic development have on rural young people and communities, this qualitative project attends to the contentious links between place, identity, status reproduction, out-migration, familial and peer socialising processes and conceptualisations of the role of particular kinds of knowledge and or skills within the wider economy. Ultimately I argue that blue-collar young women are reflexively mobilising particular forms of their cultural capital in strategic ways so as to enable both social and spatial mobility for themselves. By engaging with how various forms of work are understood by my participants and where these are thought to be available, I show how across locations, these young people are behaving in remarkably similar ways. Examining how future careers are viewed and how my participants relate to their education systems, this study has unearthed compelling findings which challenge the concerted cultivation thesis. Among those least expected to excel, this research has found a significant drive to achieve, formidable personal resilience and very active, conscious engagement in particular strategies geared towards academic prominence. This is set amidst what appears to be an innovative form of feminism, based on particular ideas about ideal femininity which are couched in individuality, self-sufficiency and a decidedly educated, skilful and resourceful form of womanhood. This womanhood is also understood to be spatially mobile and fundamentally able to be actualised only outside the remit of my participants’ rural home communities.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Meaning of Success; Young Women; High Academic Achievement; Contemporary Rural Vermont, USA and Leinster, Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 2518
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2011 11:44
    URI:

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