Capital that counts in higher education.
In, Society for Research into HIgher Education Annual Conference, Newport, GB,
07 - 09 Dec 2011.
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Under-representation in HE of those from less privileged social backgrounds is an enduring problem in the UK. Despite individual examples of productive participation, the pattern of collective trajectories of this group differs sharply from that of traditional entrants (Reay 2006). The onus falls on students to adapt to established practices within a sector that generally remains oriented towards its traditional white middle-class population (Layer 2002; Read et al. 2003; Burke 2005). Emerging from a longitudinal study exploring the experiences of students with non-traditional academic backgrounds within one of the UK’s research-intensive universities is a conceptual model highlighting the role of academic, linguistic, social and practice-oriented capital in developing a feel for and learning to play ‘the game’ in this sub-field of higher education. This paper will outline the nature and illustrate to role played by these key forms of capital in the positional tendencies and trajectories experienced by participants
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