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Title: Staying or leaving the course : students' experiences in academic elitism in public higher education in Mexico
Author: Chavana Villalobos, Maria Ana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 2574
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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The objective of this research is to explore dropout and persistence in academic elitism within a higher education system under policies of expansion. This case study employs an interpretative methodology to examine the phenomenon from the perspective of students and academics. The analysis is framed under known models of student retention with the added scope of Putnam’s concept of social capital, and Bourdieu’s concepts of academic capital, habitus, doxa, hysteresis and symbolic violence. Research questions explore why students leave the course, how they overcome barriers to completion and the process of gaining membership of academic elitism. Findings unveil a hidden doxa of selectivity that aims at the retention of the naturally talented and best-fit students. Practices of symbolic violence are observed throughout the course. The marginalisation of disadvantaged students is legitimised by the habitus of the School through the imposition of the characteristics necessary to earn membership of academic elitism. Distancing practices among students and faculty hinder the development of social capital, a key element to gain access to academic and emotional support needed to build academic capital of relevance to the field. The doxa of academic elitism is internalised and approached by means of academic buoyancy and resilience. Family facilitates availability of time as a fundamental resource to be invested in academic activities, and peers and family are the source of encouragement and support to help students sustain a fragile self-concept of achievement, and intentions to persist despite marginalisation practices faced. The lack of support and the pedagogic practices observed in the course represent a failure trap experienced with a sense of personal deficit. Leaving the course is not only explained in terms of student characteristics, but in terms of limited opportunities to succeed in a course that represents a gateway to positions of prestige and power in society.
Supervisor: Wakeling, Maria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available