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Title: Gaining the 'piece of paper' : a biographical and classed analysis of 'widening participation' students' transitions to higher education
Author: Eden, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 1906
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis develops a class-biographical analysis of ‘widening participation’ students’ transitions to higher education (HE). It unpacks the participants’ complex educational, professional and family biographies, and depicts the nuances of class instability and credentialism that defined their educational strategies, which centred upon gaining the ‘piece of paper’ (HE qualifications). Through this class-biographical analysis the thesis focuses on how these participants understood and placed value upon HE and its credential system, rather than focusing on how HE might see them (that is, as bluntly defined ‘non-traditional’ or ‘non-standard’ students). The participants narrated their ‘return’ to education in relation to their early experiences of compulsory schooling, FE and work which were mediated by family and social class relationships, the ‘turning points’ that led many to reconsider the possibilities offered by education and their lived experiences of loss, gain and vulnerability. Drawing upon Bourdieu’s concepts of capital and habitus, three types of ‘widening participation’ trajectory are suggested: securers, enrichers and builders with each implying different understandings of class location and credentialism. The thesis concludes by restating the importance of retaining a research interest in mature returners (such as those in this study) in the widening participation landscape.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education