Deconstructing career myths and cultural stereotypes in a context of low resourced township communities

Albien, Anouk J. ; Naidoo, Anthony V. (2017-11)

CITATION: Albien, A. J. & Naidoo, A. V. 2017. Deconstructing career myths and cultural stereotypes in a context of low resourced township communities. South African Journal of Education, 37(4):Art. # 1476, doi:10.15700/saje.v37n4a1476.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The current research presents the voices of black adolescents struggling to emerge from the shadow of the Apartheid legacy, focusing on the career beliefs that are perpetuated in low socio-economic communities and negatively influence career opportunities. Inaccurate information can result in career myths, which can have a negative impact on career development. The present study uses the Systems Theory Framework (STF) as a means of engaging with clients from marginalised groups. It also offers a mechanism to explore the impact of overlooked career influences such as culture, religion, community and socio-economic conditions. The qualitative career measure, My System of Career Influences (MSCI), was used to explore the factors that contribute to career decision-making. Specifically, widely shared irrational beliefs that had prevented participants from applying to tertiary institutions were examined. Career misconceptions were grouped according to Stead and Watson’s (1993) career myths, namely: 1) test myths; 2) misconceptions of exactitude; 3) self-esteem myths; and 4) career anxiety myths. The meaning-making that adolescents from disadvantaged contexts undergo, based on their unique constellation of contextual career influences and their resultant story-telling, is intrinsic to understanding local South African career identities embedded in township communities.

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