Growing up on the margins: Exploring the transition to adulthood of disadvantaged immigrant youth in Dortmund and Chicago /

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Sichling, Florian, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (221 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
URL for this record:
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Robert J. Chaskin Committee members: Mark Courtney; Richard Settersten.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:Youth is an important time in the life of an individual. Traditional notions view youth as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, organized by a relatively orderly sequence of markers and events such as finishing school, starting a job, moving out of the parental home and starting a family. A substantial body of research largely agrees that, due to recent social and economic transformations in advanced industrialized nations, young people today take longer to achieve these traditional markers and follow more varied sequences. This work however, is mostly based on the experience of middle class youth and there is selective evidence indicating that disadvantaged and minority youth tend to transition faster compared to their more privileged peers, which is thought to reflect limited access to important resources.
This dissertation is a comparative case study of male second generation immigrant youth in the U.S. and Germany, who are among the most disadvantaged groups of young people growing up in each country. National contexts differ, often quite significantly, in the types of institutional arrangements---including systems of education, employment and welfare---intended to facilitate the transition of young people to adulthood. Germany and the United States represent two distinct types of national systems that shape access to important resources and opportunities, which in turn should lead to nationally specific patterns in the transition of young people to adulthood.
In contrast to the expected country-specific divergence in transitional pathways, I find a surprising level of similarity in the transitional patterns among my respondents in the U.S. and Germany. One possible way of interpreting these findings is that differences in national systems are becoming less significant in shaping the lives of disadvantaged youth today. My analysis, however, provides evidence that these systems do matter, but in complex and unexpected ways. I find that young people form their educational and occupational aspirations in response to their respective national context: there is an almost universal desire to attend college in the U.S. but a complete absence of college as an educational aspiration in Germany. My findings also show that as young people grow older, the influence of national systems becomes increasingly mediated by more proximate contexts that tend to generate concrete options and opportunities. Taken together, these results illuminate the complex interaction between different dimensions of social context in shaping the lives of disadvantaged youth and highlight important moments of intervention for policy makers and social workers concerned with improving their life chances.
Item Description:Advisors: Robert J. Chaskin Committee members: Mark Courtney; Richard Settersten.
Physical Description:1 electronic resource (221 pages)