Contrasting experiences of working class and middle class students at a Scottish selective university: looking to Bourdieu for perspective

Coles, Christopher Williams (2020) Contrasting experiences of working class and middle class students at a Scottish selective university: looking to Bourdieu for perspective. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Despite the massive expansion of UK higher education provision from the 1960’s onwards, concern remains about the under-representation of working class students at the selective universities. Debate continues about the causes of this under-representation and what ought to be done to remedy it. A wide variety of initiatives have been tried but the phenomenon persists; is it because selective universities unwittingly discriminate against working class students?

In the context of a Scottish selective university, this study took the views of both working class and middle class students reading for a professionally accredited degree and compared their experiences with those identified in previous published literature. Students interviewed for this study came from a specific degree programme that is traditionally more popular with middle class entrants.

Compared to previous studies, a generally improving picture of working class experience was found, and fewer obvious gaps between working class and middle class experience on application and attendance were identified. There seemed to be a coalescence of experience and a greater sense of camaraderie within the student cohort.

However, it is concluded that the initiatives designed to widen access remain isolated, poorly co-ordinated, generally unscrutinised, and underfunded. Unless more drastic approaches to socioeconomic under-representation in selective universities can be identified and implemented, progress towards equalities of opportunity, experience, and outcome is likely to remain slow and piecemeal.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Access, selective university, class, Bourdieu, widening participation, accounting and finance.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Supervisor's Name: Hermannsson, Dr. K.
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Christopher Coles
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-76714
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 17:07
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 08:03
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.76714

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