Konstanze Jacob, Zerrin Salikutluk
Broader than a Border? Origin and Host Country-Specific Cultural Capital and Educational Aspirations in Germany and Israel

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 163
32 p.
ISSN: 1437-8574

This article addresses the importance of cultural capital for realistic educational aspirations of immigrants. We assume that cultural capital leads to higher educational aspirations and accordingly increases students’ achievement at school either by reflecting norms on education (self-selection mechanism) or by capturing abilities and knowledge beneficial to academic achievement (resource mechanism). Taking into account divergent effects of cultural capital specific to the country of origin, respectively destination, we compare the relevance of country-specific cultural capital to the level of educational aspirations for immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Germany and Israel.
Using data from the project Immigrants’ Children in the German and Israeli Educational Systems, we show that in both countries cultural capital specific to the host country enhances educational aspirations, while possessing only capital related to the heritage culture does not seem to be relevant for educational goals. However, the results reveal that possessing knowledge about both types of cultural capital can be decisive for setting aspirations. Students who are acquainted with the German or Israeli culture, respec-tively, as well as with the culture of their home country have the highest educational aspirations.