“… It’s Like the Immigrants Stick Together, The Stupid Ones, and The Ones Who Want to Learn Something”: Dynamics of Peer Relations, Social Categories, and Dropout in Vocational Educational Training

Aug. 01, 2015

Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 28, Issue 5, 2015, pages 514-532

This article discusses how student identities are constituted through social categories and how this affects students’ educational trajectories.
It demonstrates how dropping out is a long-term process involving social interactions between the students.
It is based on a field study in which the author was enrolled as a student at the car mechanic program at a vocational education and training school.

The various social categories emerge in contrast with each other and have fundamental influences in defining the students’ scope of action.
Divisions between the students were based on discourses of ethnicity and seriousness.
Four portraits of individual students, each belonging to a different peer group, are presented to describe the individual level of the peer-related dropout processes.

The discussion calls for awareness of reproducing effects of taken-for-granted logics and discriminatory practices and for including identity-related perspectives on peer relations, when studying dropout.

Updated: Aug. 18, 2015