Conceptions of Work: The View From Urban Youth

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Abstract

This study sought to examine how poor and working-class urban adolescents conceive of work as well as the work-related messages they receive from their families. Data were collected to understand how 9th-grade urban students perceive work using an exploratory and qualitative research methodology. Although the data suggested that urban youths' conceptions of work were complex and varied, the conceptual array of urban youths' perceptions of work suggested that work does not generally represent a means of self-concept expression or the expression of one's interest in the world of work. Specifically, urban youth tended to define work in terms of external outcomes (e.g., money), which was also a common theme among the messages they received about work from their families.

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