Title

Generativity or Reproduction of Privilege? How Institution and Family Affect Legacy Students

Publication Date

8-8-2017

Journal

Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry

Volume

2

Issue

1

Department

Education

Abstract

This study focuses on undergraduate legacy students, who have family-alumni ties to their institution. We draw on the ecological systems framework and human development theories to interpret interview data on legacy students’ perspectives of self, family, and institution. Our analysis revealed (1) nuanced experiences of separation-individuation; (2) deeply embedded family influences that constrained yet empowered formations of identity and life-direction; and (3) campus-centered dynamics that encouraged the extension of lives of privilege. These themes suggest that interactions among students, families, and institution may be more unstructured and indirect than what prior literature shows. They indicate as well the generative qualities of campus and family that may limit student development and undergird broader patterns of social inequality. We discuss implications for policy, practice, and research.

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