Title

Endowed, Entrepreneurial, and Empowered-Strivers: Doing a lot with a lot, doing a lot with a little

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publisher

Routledge

Abstract

Based on original data from one-on-one and focus group interviews with high school students in California, this article reveals how consistent access to or deprivation from informational resources influences information synthesis for scholastic work. In order to hold motivation constant, the article delineates three kinds of Striver students: Endowed, Entrepreneurial, and Empowered. The article examines the ways in which Strivers obtain information relevant to schoolwork from digital media, non-digital media, and knowledgeable individuals. Findings reveal linkages between access to informational resources and the internalization of a self-reliant or other-reliant stance towards information synthesis. Endowed-Strivers who enjoy synergistic access to informational resources adopt a self-reliant information habitus. By contrast, Entrepreneurial-Strivers with few home resources engage in linear strategies that facilitate an other-reliant information habitus. The third group, the Empowered-Strivers, benefits from school-based interventions that give them multiple information channels. Such IT interventions can act as substitutes for the rich informational resources enjoyed by Endowed-Strivers at home. Access to IT resources and teacher modeling at school make it possible for Empowered-Strivers to develop a self-reliant information habitus with regard to schoolwork. In showing how a favorable school-based information opportunity structure can compensate for inadequate informational resources at home, the analysis reveals the ways in which informational inequality is both created and sometimes overcome. By illuminating the relationships between access conditions, information opportunity structures, and types of information habitus, the article shows how synergistic use of informational resources plays a critical role in larger digital inequalities.