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Title: Narratives of access to higher education : an examination of representations of widening access to higher education in popular culture
Author: Cordell, Susan Ingrid
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 4343
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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At various times during the history of the university in England different groups have been denied access because of their circumstances and characteristics. There have also been points when great expansion has taken place. This thesis aims to explore these points in time; namely the emergence of the red-brick universities in the late nineteenth century, the plate-glass universities in the 1960s and the period post-1992 when many former polytechnics were granted university status. The methodology has been developed from the notion that texts, particularly works of fiction, are under-used as a source of education research and that, although using them presents challenges, they provide a rich source of information for researchers and offer insights into the debates, policies and practices of widening participation, and, most particularly, about how they are represented in wider culture. A framework for deconstructing textual representations, including policy documents, parliamentary papers, novels and films, was identified. The three part framework, focusing on context, text and intertext, has then been used to read a variety of texts; and the representations contained in them used to illuminate the important issue of access to higher education in the three "spots of time". For the nineteenth century debates and policies the key texts include Parliamentary Papers and contemporaneous essays and commentaries and the fictional texts are George Eliot's Middlemarch (1871) and Thomas Hardy's final novel, Jude the Obscure (1895). For the emergence of the plate-glass universities the key policy text is the Robbins Report, while the fictional texts are Kingsley Arnis's Lucky Jim (1953) and Malcolm Bradbury's The History Man (1975). For the most recent period The Dearing Report and some responses to it provide the policy texts and David Nicholls' Starter for 10 (2003) and Engleby (2007) by Sebastian Faulks are the fictional texts. The thesis highlights some of the main problems with using a variety of texts in education research, but concludes that, if handled with care, they may provide interesting examples of wider representations of key issues than are found elsewhere. Interesting insights that emerged highlight key themes around widening participation; these include barriers to inclusion and student support, both at the transition stage and during the student experience. Contextualising the material, conducting a elose textual reading and drawing on intertextual relationships with other texts collaborate to offer a robust framework for informed research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available