Article Information


Zhanna Chernovaa (, Larisa Shpakovskayab (

a National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Saint Petersburg, Russia

bIndependent Researcher, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Chernova Zh., Shpakovskaya L. (2020) Vverkh po lestnitse, vedushchey vniz: ideologiya vozmozhnostey i ogranicheniya obrazovatel'nogo vybora vypusknikov detskikh domov [Up the down staircase: ideology of opportunities and limitations of educational choice of care leavers]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 23(2): 104–129 (in Russian).

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of educational trajectories of graduates of orphanages. Western and domestic studies note the risk of social exclusion of young people belonging to this social group. One of the reasons for the social vulnerability of these young people is the low level of education. The purpose of this article is to analyze how graduates of Russian orphanages get on the least prestigious educational tracks, and what is the role of social policy, educational institutions (orphanages and institutions of vocational schools, schools) and specialists working with this group of youth in this process. Based on qualitative empirical data, including interviews with graduates of orphanages, expert interviews, the authors consider how graduates of orphanages make educational choices. The methodology of data analysis is multilevel qualitative analysis, which allows us to trace the institutional limitations of choice at different levels of social interaction, the role of institutions and their individual representatives (actors) in this process as “conductors” that influence educational choice. The authors distinguish the following levels of analysis of the formation of educational paths and choices: social level, the level of inter-institutional interaction between the school system of secondary vocational education, the system of care for children without parental care, the level of educational institutions, the level of interaction of representatives of educational institutions and pupils of orphanages, the individual level of educational choice . Educational choice is defined as the result of a complex process of institutional and interpersonal interaction. Adhering to the interactionist perspective, and also using the concept of cooling out’ introduced by E. Goffman, the authors demonstrate how ideologies and social policy instruments aimed at expanding the educational opportunities of graduates of orphanages are transformed at the level of individual biographies into specific decisions of young people, as a result of which they find themselves at the bottom of the social hierarchy of educational opportunities, often interpreting it as the result of their own decisions.

Keywords: graduates of orphanages, educational choice, educational trajectories, social exclusion.


The article was prepared within the framework of the Academic Fund Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University) in 2020–2022 (grant № 20-01-005) and within the framework of the Russian Academic Excellence Project «5-100» and supported by Charity Foundation «Arifmetika Dobra».


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