'Strangers in Paradise'? : working-class students in elite universities

Reay, Diane, Crozier, Gill and Clayton, John (2009) 'Strangers in Paradise'? : working-class students in elite universities. Sociology, 43 (6). pp. 1103-1121. ISSN 0038-0385

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038509345700


This article draws on case studies of nine working-class students at Southern, an elite university. It attempts to understand the complexities of identities in flux through Bourdieu’s notions of habitus and field. Bourdieu (1990a) argues that when an individual encounters an unfamiliar field, habitus is transformed. He also writes of how the movement of habitus across new, unfamiliar fields results in ‘a habitus divided against itself ’ (Bourdieu, 1999a). Our data suggest more nuanced understandings in which the challenge of the unfamiliar results in a range of creative adaptations and multi-faceted responses. They display dispositions of self scrutiny and self-improvement – almost ‘a constant fashioning and re-fashioning of the self ’ but one that still retains key valued aspects of a working-class self. Inevitably, however, there are tensions and ambivalences, and the article explores these, as well as the very evident gains for working-class students of academic success in an elite HE institution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: habitus, working-class students
Subjects: L300 Sociology
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr John Clayton
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2013 15:31
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 22:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/14159

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