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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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Managing “At-Risk” Selves and “Giving Back”

Managing “At-Risk” Selves and “Giving Back”

Aspiration Management among Working-Class Youth

(p.29) 2 Managing “At-Risk” Selves and “Giving Back”
The Burdens of Aspiration

Elsa Davidson

NYU Press

This chapter examines a pattern of aspiration among first- and second-generation, low-income Latino youth participating in a public school biotechnology academy with corporate connections to Silicon Valley industry. In particular, it considers these Latino youth's desire to “give back” to the community by pursuing careers in public service, especially those that monitor and serve at-risk communities. It also explores how students of the “School-to-Career” Biotechnology Academy at Morton High School linked their pattern of aspiration to the school's emphasis on taking responsibility for an at-risk status and experiences of social contradiction and exclusion within their everyday school and community environments. Finally, it discusses the students' aspiration management in relation to a hegemonic social order reproducing race and class hierarchies and to a project of neoliberal governance in which notions of personal responsibility converged with idealizations of the tech private sector.

Keywords:   biotechnology, Silicon Valley, Latino youth, public service, at-risk communities, Morton High School, social contradiction, aspiration management, neoliberal governance, personal responsibility

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