01 Jun 2010

Considering families’ network compositions in schooling matters

Research No Comments

In recent years, the concept of “social capital” has been thoroughly examined in school contexts. Most research tends to suggest that dense networks of resourceful relationships help students and families navigate the learning process more efficiently and successfully. Some of my recent research with homeless families, however, suggests that dense peer networks can have significant negative influences as well. In these situations, I have found that families linkages with those who are strategically “different” from them can be of more utility in helping them realize new life courses. These findings are consistent with Nan Lin’s (1999; 2000) findings that, for those who are seeking major life changes or advancement, network heterogeneity is often more important than network density. I presented these findings at the 2010 AERA conference in Denver and will continue to examine social network-related issues in my future work.

Comments are closed.