Keywords: School Tracking; School Guidance; Cultural Capital; Educational Inequalities; High School Choice; Junior High School; Italy.
Within a stratified high school educational system such as that in Italy, track allocation is crucial for determining students' future educational and occupational prospects. The article draws on empirical material gathered during ethnographic research carried out in two junior high schools in Milan during the 2011/2012 school year in order to focus on the role played by guidance activities in student's high school choices. The results show that the practices of guidance and counseling provided at the end of junior high school strengthen the link between students' social origin and their educational choices and trajectories. The concepts of constitutive action (Mehan, 1992) and cultural capital (Lareau, Weininger, 2003) are used to discuss the performative efficacy of guidance practices.