Collaboration and contestation in further and higher education partnerships in England: a Bourdieusian field analysis

Article


Colley, Helen, Chadderton, C. and Nixon, Lauren 2014. Collaboration and contestation in further and higher education partnerships in England: a Bourdieusian field analysis. Critical Studies in Education. 55 (2), pp. 104-121.
AuthorsColley, Helen, Chadderton, C. and Nixon, Lauren
Abstract

Internationally, ‘College for All’ policies are creating new forms of vocational higher education (HE), and shifting relationships between HE and further education (FE) institutions. In this paper, we consider the way in which this is being implemented in England, drawing on a detailed qualitative case study of a regional HE–FE partnership to widen participation. We focus on the complex mix of collaboration and contestation that arose within it, and how these affected socially differentiated groups of students following high- and low-status routes through its provision. We outline Bourdieu’s concept of ‘field’ as a framework for our analysis and interpretation, including its theoretical ambiguities regarding the definition and scale of fields. Through hermeneutic dialogue between data and theory, we tentatively suggest that such partnerships represent bridges between HE and FE. These bridges are strong between higher-status institutions, but highly contested between lower-status institutions competing closely for distinction. We conclude that the trajectories and outcomes for socially disadvantaged students require attention and collective action to address the inequalities they face, and that our theoretical approach may have wider international relevance beyond the English case.

JournalCritical Studies in Education
Journal citation55 (2), pp. 104-121
ISSN1750-8495
1750-8487
Year2014
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2014.852987
Publication dates
Print09 Jan 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jan 2014
Copyright informationThis is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Critical Studies in Education, 2014 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17508487.2014.852987
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