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A phenomenological re-interpretation o f Horner’s fear of success in terms of social class.

Ivers, Jo-Hanna (2008) A phenomenological re-interpretation o f Horner’s fear of success in terms of social class. Master of Arts thesis, Dublin City University.

The current study developed the concept of fear o f success that was originally examined by Martina Homer (1970; 1972). In her studies Homer (1970; 1972) revealed stereotypes and biases that were discouraging women from pursuing careers in non-traditional fields. The key dimension in Homer's (1970; 1972) studies was gender. The key dimension in the current study was social class. It was hypothesized that individuals from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds fear that, for them, success will lead to alienation from their community, and the loss o f identity and loss o f overall sense o f belonging within their culture. The majority o f the previous studies were based in the US and examined fear of success using objectivist conceptions o f success and quantitative methodologies. The current study employed two-phase qualitative interviewing as the primary source of data collection in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding o f the constructions and experiences o f the participants in relation to success. Several themes emerged from the interviews. The findings suggest that the majority o f participants believed that they would have to make vast life changes, in order to facilitate their views o f desired success. The participants' fear was rooted in what they perceived as the ‘consequences o f successes. These participants occupied a Trade-off mindset', fo r these young people, success meant leaving their family, friends, community and culture behind. The majority o f participants highly valued the community that they came from and the relationships that they have within it. Participants felt cared for, ‘That there was always someone to go to ", ‘That people looked out for each other". The thought of losing this ‘connection’ and sense of belonging was expressed with noticeable anxiety. However, there was a lot o f ambivalence surrounding these relationships. On the one hand, participants valued their relations and cited them as a contributing factor to their past successes. Nevertheless, when asked about their experience o f not succeeding participants said that they could not tell anyone. This silence was accompanied by feelings of guilt and perceived shame. Implications o f these findings for access strategies to third level are discussed.
Item Type:Thesis (Master of Arts)
Date of Award:November 2008
Supervisor(s):Downes, Paul
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
Social Sciences > Sociology
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Institute of Education
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:22498
Deposited On:30 Jul 2018 11:09 by Thomas Murtagh . Last Modified 30 Jul 2018 11:09

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