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01 Social arv - english abstract


Social Inheritance
- on social inheritance, unequal life chances, the target groups and research perspectives of the ASP-intervention



By Bente Jensen, Associate Professor, Project Manager, Department of Learning, DPU, University of Aarhus, Denmark 
42 pages * ISBN 978-87-7684-231-4 * Published: 2008

This paper is the first in a series of fourteen electronic publications about the Danish research project "Action competences in pedagogical work with socially endangered children and youths - effort and effect" (The ASP-project).

Research in social inheritance has moved in two fundamentally different directions; towards an orientation of the individual child and a structural orientation with focus on societal and institutional risk factors concerning exclusion. The ASP-project combines the two orientations in order to establish interventions that aim at empowering the individual child through competence development and inclusion in the everyday life of the pedagogical institutions. Put differently, the approach of the project is to consider both individual issues and positional issues such as negative social inheritance that create inequalities. 
    The ASP-project looks into two areas in social pedagogical work; day-care centres and residential homes for youths. In this paper focus is on the research in day-care, and the overall purpose is to identify target groups for the intervention in the Danish day-care centres. As part of defining an accurate pedagogical intervention, this paper also seeks to identify relevant indicators of being socially endangered in order to better define socially disadvantaged conditions that pose a risk to the child's upbringing and childhood.
    The paper explores the following two questions in detail:
1) Based on a concept of social inheritance, are socially endangered children defined as children who are subject to unequal opportunities causing impaired life chances compared to their more privileged peers?
2) Knowledge of impaired life chances - are differences in opportunities in the educational system already set in the early life in day-care? The empirical knowledge is supplemented by knowledge of social mobility identified in the international empirical research.

The research has identified five indicators of aspects in a child's social background that are known to signify increased risk of being socially endangered. These are poverty, unemployment among parents, short or no education or parents on welfare payment and/or difficult divorces. This more precise identification of background factors, which has been retrieved through regression analyses with a 'child neglect-case' as the dependent variable, was employed in the allocation of institutions (with different child compositions) into the programme. Allocation into the programme was randomized (a RCT-design) at the level of institution.

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