Exploring the Relationship Between Capital, Inequality and Antisocial Behaviour in Mexican schools

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

Various studies have linked poverty and inequality with problems in schools, including antisocial behaviour (ASB). However, many of these studies have two important limitations that have shaped our view about these problems. The first problem is that the vast majority of these studies have been carried out in a few western countries that share similar characteristics, so very little is known about how these issues affect other places. The second problem is mainly associated with the lack of integration of different theoretical and methodological elements, which have led to partial or inconclusive conclusions. Based on the forms of capital developed by Bourdieu (1986) and using an ecological approach that incorporates characteristics of students and their schools, this thesis explores the relationship between economic, social and cultural capital, their associated inequality, and the perceived frequency of ASB of students and principals of secondary schools in Mexico. The research is based on secondary analysis of the National Plan for the Evaluation of Learning (INEE 2016). Confirmatory Factor Analysis was used to construct measures of perceived frequency of ASB and economic, social, and cultural capital. Measures of inequality for each form of capital were based on Generalised Entropy, which allowed the examination of the effects of disparities at different parts of the distribution. The analysis was conducted using Structural Equation Modelling. Additionally, the students’ perceived frequency of ASB was explored using Multilevel Modelling, while the analysis of the principals was based on OLS. Lastly, Multiple Group Analysis was used to explore the effects of capital and inequality in different types of schools, and localities of different sizes. Social capital was the only form of capital with a consistent effect, as it was associated with a decrease in the perceived frequency of ASB of both students and principals from all school types and localities. Economic and cultural capital had an effect on the perceived frequency of ASB but only in some types of schools and in some localities. Inequalities in students’ social and cultural capital were linked to the perceived frequency of ASB in some types of schools and localities, such that higher levels of very deprived or wealthy students were associated with lower perceptions of ASB.

As one solution to reducing the perception of ASB in Mexican schools, this thesis suggests fostering better social connections, addressing some vulnerabilities associated with the lack of economic and cultural capital, and understanding the unique characteristics of different environments in how they shape patterns of ASB.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationPh.D.
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
Award date5 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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