How has the dominant social scientific paradigm limited our understanding of the impact of inherited economic resources, social privilege, and sociocultural practices on multigenerational inequality? In what ways might multiple forces of social difference haunt quantitative measurements of ability such as the SAT? Building on new materialist philosophy, Inheriting Possibility rethinks methods of quantification and theories of social reproduction in education, demonstrating that test performance results and parenting practices convey the impact of materially and historically contingent patterns of differential possibility.
Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román explores the dualism of nature and culture that has undergirded theories of inheritance, social reproduction, and human learning and development. Research and debate on the reproduction of power relations have rested on a premise that nature is made up of fixed universals on which the creative, intellective, and discursive play of culture are based. Drawing on recent work in the physical and biological sciences, Dixon-Román argues that nature is culture. He contends that by assuming a rigid nature/culture binary, we ultimately limit our understanding of how power relations are reproduced.
Through innovative analyses of empirical data and cultural artifacts, Dixon-Román boldly reconsiders how we conceptualize the processes of inheritance and approach social inquiry in order to profoundly sharpen understanding and address the reproducing forces of inequality.