Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Literature, the Media and the Arts vol:41 issue:3 pages:265-293
Based on Bourdieu’s Cultural Capital theory this study, carried out among 1899 Flemish secondary school pupils, examines (1) whether adolescents’ experiences at school predict their attitude towards the mobile phone as a status object, and (2) whether these attitudes in turn predict ownership of a high-status phone. Three concurrent hypotheses were tested. Our ‘conformity hypothesis’, was supported: in line with the social image that the school system bestows on them, adolescents in non-academic tracks attach greater importance to having a ‘cool’ mobile phone and lagging behind indirectly predicted this attitude via school track. The ‘compensation hypothesis’ was not supported: no direct relationship was found between academic self-concept or lagging behind and adolescents’ attitude towards the mobile phone as a status object. The ‘resistance hypothesis’ was supported: adolescents with lower academic self-concept, who have lagged behind and who are in a semi-academic or vocational school track have a more negative attitude towards school, which in turn predicts a more positive attitude towards the mobile phone as a status object. Finally, attitude towards the mobile phone as a status object strongly predicts ownership of a high-status mobile phone. Gender, age and ethnicity were found to moderate some of the relationships found.