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Raising a New Elite: Japanese Affluent Mothers' Transnational Class and Status Work

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Item Summary

Title:Raising a New Elite: Japanese Affluent Mothers' Transnational Class and Status Work
Authors:Igarashi, Hiroki
show 1 moreTransnationalism
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Date Issued:Aug 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015]
Abstract:The sociology of elites has regained momentum in recent decades due to increasing income gaps between the rich and poor throughout the world. In the domains of elite school research, existing studies have examined how children enrolled in these schools acquire a sense of entitlement and/or privilege. However, how the parents of these children come to construct an elite status culture (status work) through their everyday interactions around the school setting is less clear. In the existing stratification research, parents, particularly mothers, had been studied as main agents of class reproduction through parenting practices (class work). I argue in this dissertation research that considering both aspects of class and status work is important because women with children simultaneously play two roles in the household—class reproduction and status enhancement.
For a case study, I observed the preschool section of an ‘international school’ in Tokyo, called Wakana International School, a new type of new-elite school in Asian countries, which has been actively sought out by local privileged families to help prepare their children to achieve upward social mobility in the global stratification hierarchy. I followed local affluent families, in particular the mothers (Wakana mothers). I focused on their transnational education practices in Tokyo and Hawai‘i from 2011 to 2014.
My findings reveal that these local affluent families chose Wakana according to their respective class trajectories, as a consequence of the interplay between their volume and composition of economic, cultural and social capital, and the elite tracking structure in Tokyo. Once admitted to Wakana, they engaged in 'transnational class and status work' by cultivating their child's global and national cultural capital through transnational education practices with the objective of raising their child as a new elite in this changing economy. In the process, they came to acquire a disposition of being at-ease in their 'status work' as new elite mothers. Their new elite disposition, shaped by their mobile, free, cosmopolitan and extravagant styles of life was obtained as a result of assuming institutional responsibilities, and by meeting expectations and conforming to the morals of international schooling.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Sociology

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