Congratulations are due to Tony Hope for the completion of his thesis Communities that care: an insight into male career patterns in a small neighbourhood. I was involved in the supervision of the project and am really pleased with the way the final version has turned out.
The study looks at the lives and career development of a group of mid-thirties working-class males in a small neighbourhood. In particular, the study highlights the complex influence of social capital, the men’s personal development through the ‘opportunity structure’ and how chance along with place of residence impact on career advancement. The data is drawn from 10 in-depth interviews with men in their mid-thirties, who were born and raised in an inner city neighbourhood. Despite poverty, deprivation and social exclusion, these 10 men now have a career but choose not to leave the neighbourhood of their birth. They have each turned their life around by being confident, persistent, and determined to succeed, thereby empowering other individuals and their community, to build their own ladders out of poverty and towards a brighter future. However, this is a close knit network of friends and family that according to the headteacher in the local secondary school are ‘unwilling to move the boundaries of opportunity and rely too much on the ways of the past’. Each interviewee has a story to tell and these stories are interwoven and analysed through common themes explored in depth in the thesis. These stories map out a career trajectory that is based on rites of passage into adulthood and an adult sense of masculinity.
I very much hope that Tony will continue to work in this area and publish more work based on his research.
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