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La noblesse d'Etat anglaise? Social class and progression to postgraduate study

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JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
DatePublished - Sep 2005
Issue number4
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)505-522
Original languageEnglish


Despite rapid growth in UK postgraduate education and a current focus on issues of access to higher education, consideration of possible social class differentials at the postgraduate level is missing from the sociological literature. Using Higher Education Statistics Agency data, this paper presents a preliminary investigation of the relationship between social class and progression to postgraduate study in England and considers the interplay with other salient variables, including subject of study, institutional type and first- degree achievement. Evidence of a social class differential in progression to higher degrees is used to test various sociological theories, particularly those proposed by Bourdieu. There is support for the concept of ` institutional habitus' developed in recent UK studies. It is concluded that there is scope for further in- depth empirical research into social class and postgraduate study.

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