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A socio-cultural understanding of application to and participation in higher education for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds in an inner city area.

Bernard, Julie (2013) A socio-cultural understanding of application to and participation in higher education for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds in an inner city area. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

There is considerable knowledge about why school-leavers from socio- economically disadvantaged backgrounds do not participate in higher education, however, there is less knowledge about why and how the minority of such young adults do apply and participate in higher education. From a policy and practice perspective, to increase participation in higher education, this knowledge is important. In Ireland, research from an interpretative socio-cultural perspective is particularly valuable, given the traditional dominance of research and policy based on the concepts of socio-economic group and barriers to participation, and a limited tradition of interpretative research. This study, using a combined life history and case-study methodology, provides a socio-cultural understanding of the broad range of enabling factors supporting application to and participation in higher education through in-depth interviews with a group of twenty young adults from similar socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds in an inner city area, interviews with people they identified as influential in their education decisions and interviews with education and community personnel from the area. The study shows that there were common elements in all of the young peoples' lives which enabled them to avail of increased education opportunities in the area and be in a position to consider applying to higher education. There was also evidence of diversity within socio-economic disadvantage in the form of three groups with differing orientations towards higher education, experiences of education, sense of identity and desires for their lives. Networks with different types of social capital and providing different levels of cultural capital specific to accessing higher education were key to understanding the differences between the three groups and understanding who did and did not participate in higher education. The study draws on and extends Bourdieu's work on the relationship between field, capital and habitus and Woolcock's work on social capital to provide an understanding of the factors affecting application to and participation in higher education for young adults from SED backgrounds.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.575556
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2017 16:50
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2017 16:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14598

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