Aina Tarabini, Judith Jacovkis, Alejandro Montes, Classed choices: Young people’s rationalities for choosing post-16 educational tracks

The aim of this article is to examine the relationship between educational tracks and social class, focusing on the reasoning behind the choices made by young people. The analysis is conducted in Barcelona (Spain), where upper-secondary education starts at 16 years of age and is segmented into two tracks (academic and professional). The analysis employs a mixed-method design based on a survey of 1,318 students in the first year of upper-secondary education and 38 in-depth interviews with middle class and working class young people from both educational tracks. The results explore the differences and similarities in young people’s discourses when explaining their choices as more or less naturalized processes or as guided by future options. The meanings and realizations that both processes acquire among young people of different social classes help to further understand the nexus between choice, tracks and the (re)production of social inequality.

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