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Social Capital and Intergenerational Ambivalence: Parental Support for Young High School Drop-Outs Without a Diploma

Marc Molgat

In the present article, we will highlight the contribution of the relational dynamics between young people and their parents in the production of social capital that can facilitate the school-to-work transition. The case studied relates more specifically to young adults (n=32) who abandoned their secondary-level studies and whom we interviewed four to six years after they had left school. Although, recently, the relationship between young people and their parents has been mainly described in terms of intergenerational agreement, the notion of intergenerational ambivalence allows one to take more accurate stock of the relationship between parents and children at the time when the latter abandoned their studies and, subsequently, during the process of schoolto-work transition. Our analysis indicates that the absence of ambivalence or the potential for tolerating and resolving such ambivalence appear to be essential conditions for the production of social capital. The parent’s level of education would seem to have little impact on these dynamics.