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The Burdens of AspirationSchools, Youth, and Success in the Divided Social Worlds of Silicon Valley$
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Elsa Davidson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720875

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720875.001.0001

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Phantoms of Success

Phantoms of Success

The Politics of Aspiration in Post-Boom Silicon Valley

(p.3) 1 Phantoms of Success
The Burdens of Aspiration

Elsa Davidson

NYU Press

This book explores the lived space of Silicon Valley by focusing on the experiences and aspirations of local youth as well as the educational, social, cultural, and political contexts that shape their daily lives and strategies of aspiration management. It considers how experiences of social contradiction shape patterns of subjectification and agency involved in processes of social reproduction within Silicon Valley's social landscape. It examines the process of aspiration formation among youth from divergent class, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, with particular emphasis on the children of the region's low-wage service workers and those of its highly skilled tech and service professional classes. This chapter discusses how Silicon Valley's polarization of wealth and local increased cost of living during the 1990s sharpened social, economic, and cultural divides along lines of race, ethnicity, and class. It also analyzes the rise of a techno-civilizing process in Silicon Valley and concludes with an overview of the book's scope.

Keywords:   aspiration management, subjectification, social contradiction, social reproduction, Silicon Valley, youth, cost of living, service workers, high-tech professionals, 1990s, wealth polarization

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