Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Amy Wilson-Lopez


Steven Camicia

Third Advisor:

Sylvia Read


This study is framed in Bourdieu’s theory of capital, which asserts that the choices we make are usually designed to help us become better off economically; that economic capital is, to some degree, exchangeable with other types of capital (e.g., social and cultural); and that other types of capital can be exchanged for economic capital. The purpose of this study was to understand which forms of capital native English-speaking and native Spanish-speaking families believed they would acquire by choosing to participate in or not participate in Spanish dual language immersion.

In this study I interviewed four native Spanish-speaking students who did not participate in dual language immersion, and their parents, and four native English-speaking students who did participate in dual language immersion, and their parents. I also conducted a focus group with the teachers of both the native Spanish and native English-speaking students.

I found that the native English-speaking families perceived that they were able to use the dual language immersion program to gain many forms of capital. By contrast, the native Spanish-speaking families also perceived that they gained capital by not participating in the program, but not as much as if they had participated in dual language immersion. I suggest some ways to make participation in dual language immersion more equitable for all families.



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