Profitable portfolios: capital that counts in higher education.
British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34, (3), . (doi:10.1080/01425692.2012.710005).
Under-representation in UK higher education of students from less privileged social backgrounds is an enduring problem. While there are examples of productive participation, the pattern of collective trajectories of this group differs sharply from that of traditional entrants (Reay 2006). The onus falls largely to students to adapt to established practices which remain strongly oriented towards traditional white middle-class populations (Read et al. 2003, Burke 2005).
Bourdieu’s theory of practice informed the analysis of data emerging from a longitudinal case study and empirical insights are offered into how students with non-traditional academic backgrounds experienced and negotiated the demands of studying in one of the UK’s research-intensive universities. A new conceptual framework identifies academic, linguistic, social and professionally-oriented capital as underpinning the logic of practice of this sub-field of higher education, and their influence on the positional tendencies and trajectories of the students operating within it are highlighted.
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