How do neighborhoods influence educational achievement? Reviewing qualitative studies by employing Nussbaum's perspectives
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Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A171
Background: Education is a crucial resource for life chances, with a close correlation with socioeconomic inequalities in health. Providing education for all is an essential part of health promotion. While the effects of neighborhoods on educational achievement have been well researched, studies have tended to ask simplified and unbalanced questions about the value of neighborhoods. Instead, more insightful answers could be derived from questions on understanding the complexity of neighborhoods’ influence. Aims: We sought insight into the complexities of neighborhood’s influence on educational achievement by reviewing qualitative literature from Nordic countries emphasizing urban neighborhoods’ influence on educational achievement. We also applied perspectives from Nussbaum`s capability approach to address these complexities. Methods: This critical systematic qualitative review included studies on the influence of neighborhoods on academic success generated from nine databases using a search string. Two reviewers selected the studies following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) flowchart and inclusion criteria through a blinded process. Out of 7009 extracted records, 17 peer-reviewed articles were examined. We evaluated the scientific quality of the study using EPICURE. Results: Findings showed three main themes: social support from neighborhood agents, the role of attachment and the reputation of the place, and how policies influence everyday life and educational achievement. The articles were descriptive and built on perspectives regarding social reproduction and social capital. Conclusions: Integrating perspectives from the capability approach to discuss the complexities of neighborhoods’ influence on educational achievement may facilitate a shift toward identifying possibilities in neighborhoods.