Widening participation in higher education: the role of professional and social class identities and commitments

Article


Wilkins, A. and Burke, Penny Jane 2013. Widening participation in higher education: the role of professional and social class identities and commitments. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 36 (3), pp. 434-452.
AuthorsWilkins, A. and Burke, Penny Jane
Abstract

Since the neoliberal reforms to British education in the 1980s, education debates have been saturated with claims to the efficacy of the market as a mechanism for improving the content and delivery of state education. In recent decades with the expansion and ‘massification’ of higher education, widening participation (WP) has acquired an increasingly important role in redressing the under-representation of certain social groups in universities. Taken together, these trends neatly capture the twin goals of New Labour’s programme for education reform: economic competitiveness and social justice. But how do WP professionals negotiate competing demands of social equity and economic incentive? In this paper we explore how the hegemony of neoliberal discourse – of which the student as consumer is possibly the most pervasive – can be usefully disentangled from socially progressive, professional discourses exemplified through the speech and actions of WP practitioners and managers working in British higher education institutions.

JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Journal citation36 (3), pp. 434-452
ISSN1465-3346
0142-5692
Year2013
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/01425692.2013.829742
Publication dates
Print09 Oct 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Sep 2016
Accepted10 Jul 2013
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Sociology of Education on 09.10.13, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01425692.2013.829742.
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