It runs in the family? Why youngsters in the vocational tracks participate less in voluntary organisations
Department of Sociology, Research Group TOR Free University Brussels Brussels, Belgium
Empirical research has repeatedly shown that youngsters in the vocational tracks of secondary schools participate less in almost all types of voluntary associations. They participate less in youth and cultural organisations, in sport organisations and in social movements.
In this paper we try to explain that observation on the basis of the intergenerational transmission of participation in voluntary associations. Although it is clear that the extent of participation in voluntary associations, as well as voluntary work can be transmitted from generation to generation, the mechanisms behind the parental influence are not at all obvious. In the literature one can distinguish two main theories concerning the mechanisms of intergenerational transmission. According to the family socialisation theory, socially active parents produce socially active children. This can happen on two manners, via role modelling and value modelling. The effect of parental participation on children's participation (in the same kind of associations) is the core characteristic of the role modelling theory. Parents can also teach their children values that motivate them to participate or stimulate and support them to engage in associations. The second theory does not envision a direct effect of the parents participation on the children's, but is based on the intergenerational transmission of characteristics (such as the level of education) that influence participation in voluntary associations. This status transmission model poses that the relationship between parental and children's participation may be due to the transmission of socio-economic status rather than to a "modelling effect", because parents pass on social statuses to their children that can promote participation. In trying to explain why youngsters in the vocational tracks of secondary schools participate less, we will distinguish those two mechanisms of intergenerational transmission and will evaluate their respective importance. The analysis is based on data from a face-to-face survey (N=1212) of young people, 14 to 18 years old and of their parents. Multiple regression analysis and structural equation models will be used the test the hypotheses.