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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries
increase with the more rapid changes that are being experienced by young people today.
The acquisition of human capital is only one of several types of capital potentially acquired in school. Social capital, defined as “the ability of actors to secure benefits by virtue of membership in social networks or other social structures” (Portes, 1998), can be acquired in school through the formation of peer networks, parents’ networks, or student-teacher networks.3 An additional domain of learning important to our subject is the acquisition of values or “cultural capital” (a termed coined by Bourdieu, 1985, as cited in Portes, 1998) that enhances an individual’s effectiveness in the culture, in the community, and in the workplace. In a modernizing society, formal schooling, particularly Western-style schooling, provides a major counterpoint to the family in the socialization of the young. One important example concerns gender. While boys and girls are mostly taught the same curriculum when it comes to academic subjects, the process of socialization that occurs in the schoolyard and the classroom is often quite different for boys and girls, as are some of the traditional nonacademic subjects, such as home economics and agriculture, that are still provided in some school systems on a sex-segregated basis. In traditional societies, gender role socialization occurred primarily in the home and the community. The school, through the authority of the teacher, also has enormous potential to influence the values, expectations, and behaviors of boys and girls with respect to gender roles in the family as well as the workplace, either by reinforcing traditional roles or by sharing in the classroom changing international norms regarding human rights and gender equality.4 Therefore, the role of schools in the socialization of the young is another factor to consider in the progress of children in school and their transition to adulthood.
A final aspect of formal schooling relates to becoming a citizen and a community participant and is treated more fully in Chapter 6. Effective citizenship at the community, national, and global levels requires a broad knowledge of the world and the acceptance of certain common values. As articulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, these include respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for local cul-
School attendance, by taking children away from an exclusive reliance on family networks, may result in a decline in some types of social capital at the same time that it may provide access to other sources of social capital.
Other important examples include attitudes about roles, potentialities, and interactions with other members of society who may differ in respects other than gender—race, ethnicity, class, caste, clan, or tribe—and their value as individuals independent of these differences in background.