social mobility

Book Review: Higher Education and Social Inequalities: University Admissions, Experiences and Outcomes edited by Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 27/10/2019 - 8:30pm in

In Higher Education and Social Inequalities, Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward bring together contributors to explore and evidence how university admissions, experiences and outcomes are influenced by wider inequalities within society. This collection adds to the contemporary re-emergence of class analysis within the sociology of education and will contribute to debates surrounding the future of higher education in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone. This […]

Book Review: Social Mobility and its Enemies by Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/09/2019 - 9:10pm in

In Social Mobility and its EnemiesLee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin offer a thought-provoking assessment of the state of social mobility in Britain. In the context of much social and political change and rising levels of inequality in Britain, this book is able to dispel the myth of meritocracy and suggest evidence-informed avenues for achieving a fairer society for all, writes Ross Goldstone

Social Mobility and its Enemies. Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin. Pelican. 2018.

Find this book: amazon-logo

Have you ever wondered why those at the top tend to come from the same backgrounds? Or how severe the social mobility crisis in Britain really is—and what has, and continues to, cause it? If so, then Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin’s recent contribution to the Pelican Books series, Social Mobility and its Enemies, is a must-read.

Through critically engaging with rigorous and reputable research in this area, the book provides a thought-provoking assessment of the state of social mobility in Britain. In so doing, the authors spell out what might be done to reverse the trend of low social mobility which has accelerated over decades, so that a fairer society, with opportunities for all to achieve social mobility, can be created. The book comes at a time of growing economic and social inequality in Britain that has ushered in a social mobility crisis and thus holds contemporary policy relevance. Considering the part played by stagnant opportunities for significant proportions of the population in current political events, such as the UK EU referendum result (71), also enables the book to contribute to existing debates over how to move forward in post-Brexit Britain.

Social mobility ‘tells us how likely we are to climb up (or fall down) the economic or social ladder of life’ (4). The ‘enemies’ referred to in the book’s title are those privileged social elites who are able to hoard opportunities to prevent sliding down the social ladder, and in so doing, limit opportunities for social mobility for those at the bottom (195). However, the measurement of this complex social phenomena is not straightforward, with the measures, variables and forms of social mobility used (such as absolute or relative) being influential on findings produced on the topic. For example, it may be possible to discover increased absolute social mobility, but stagnant relative mobility (16). What Major and Machin are able to do in this book is provide an accessible and evidence-based account of complex statistics on the social mobility problem in Britain; the mechanisms underpinning this, including the key role education plays in hindering, as much as enabling, social mobility; and the consequences of low social mobility for British society, be these economic, social or political. This review focuses on the authors’ discussion of the two latter areas: firstly, the implications of immobility in contemporary Britain; and secondly, the contentious relationship between education and social immobility.

Image Credit: (Pixabay CC0)

Throughout the book, there are telling indications of the importance of social mobility both economically and socially. Major and Machin demonstrate throughout Part One that the UK has one of the highest levels of inequality and the lowest levels of intergenerational mobility (see Figures 1.3 and 3.6) amongst a range of developed nations. Whilst there are political and economic differences between many of these and the UK, similar Anglophone countries perform better: ‘Australia and Canada have lower betas [levels of intergenerational immobility] and more income mobility than Britain’ (25-31). Thus, this suggests that ‘Britain is less mobile than it could be’ (29). This trend is not reversing: instead ‘income mobility [has] declined across recent generations’ (26). Partly, this has taken place during a time when the gap between rich and poor in the UK has increased, largely as a consequence of property-based wealth, because ‘in developed economies, housing wealth is the largest component of […] overall wealth’ (39).

This immobility is, for Major and Machin, damaging for British society economically (127), socially (Chapter Five) and politically (73). Economically, the price of immobility is estimated at ‘an annual increase in the country’s GDP of between 2 and 4 per cent’ (57). Furthermore, enhancing social mobility is believed to be an important element of solving Britain’s productivity problem. This is because in ‘more mobile societies jobs are filled by those with the highest level of potential to perform well in that role, rather than someone who may be less well suited but better connected’ (57). But there are social and political implications to not enabling everyone an equal opportunity to achieve social mobility. The authors illustrate how immobility in Britain can be understood as a factor in the result of the EU referendum. Figures 3.2 and 3.3 demonstrate ‘a strong link between areas of low mobility and [… voting] to leave the European Union’ (73). What this suggests is that immobility breeds discontent and disaffection, enabling those with objectives of social change to capitalise on the frustrations of the immobile. A similar story can be said of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

The role of education in social (im)mobility is a contentious one. For those in policy circles buying into notions of human capital theory, education is the ‘great social leveller’ (87). While education is vital for social mobility, the role education plays in mobility is complicated. Major and Machin problematise this relationship by discussing what they call ‘education’s dark side’ (83). Their particular focus is on ‘the extra investments made by middle-class families to enable their children to get ahead during the early years’ (95) as well as ‘Britain’s Privately Educated Elites’ (129), who are able to monopolise the most advantageous educational opportunities and lucrative labour market destinations. In an increasingly knowledge-based, globalised economy, where education is a basic requirement for most skilled work, it is the poorest that are least capable of capitalising on this, even when they attain highly. For those that consecutive governments have failed, lacking basic skills, the prospects of mobility are bleak. Major and Machin starkly conclude that the ‘education system remains tilted in countless ways to the already advantaged’ (112). It is for this reason that education reform is key to their proposals for change. Ideas are provided in Part Three, including a rethinking of education beyond the academic (183) and education system reform, focusing specifically on access to ‘good’ educational opportunities (206). However, education is not the sole driver of change for Major and Machin, as a restructuring of the labour market and work remuneration are also recommended.

However, one limitation of this book is the lack of consideration of the ‘costs’ of social mobility. There is increasing recognition that social mobility is far from a straightforward process of smoothly ascending the social hierarchy as depicted in policy texts. Despite this, the book does not critically explore the notion of social mobility and whether contemporary ideas as to whether those not from privileged backgrounds can achieve this are outdated. The strong policy focus of the book would enable such a problematisation of social mobility to be pushed into current debates and for a more fruitful understanding of the troubles of traversing the social ladder to be at the heart of these.

Irrespective of this omission, Major and Machin offer a timely contribution to debates surrounding social mobility. The book joins other recent publications that have considered notions of social mobility, in addition to those critically exploring education in contemporary society in terms of equality, opportunity and mobility. These include Miseducation by Diane Reay, The Class Ceiling by Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison and Engines of Privilege by Francis Green and David Kynaston. Given the authors are from academic and policy-focused backgrounds, the book will appeal to academics across the social and policy sciences interested in issues surrounding social mobility, inequality and education, as well as those from outside of the academy interested in creating a fairer society. In the context of much social and political change and rising levels of inequality in Britain, this book is able to dispel the myth of meritocracy and suggest evidence-informed avenues for achieving a fairer society for all.

Ross Goldstone is an ESRC-funded PhD candidate at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, where he is studying the relationship between social class and further education participation and experience. His current interests are in educational inequality and the sociology of education, in addition to wider debates around social class, and the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu and their application in educational research. He tweets at @GoldstoneRoss.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 


The Stepford Daughters of Brexit and Slavery and the Emergence of Capitalism

Yesterday for our amusement the awesome Kerry Anne Mendoza posted a video on twitter made by two very definitely overprivileged girls talking about the evils of socialism. The two young ladies were Alice and Beatrice Grant, the privately educated granddaughters of the late industrialist and former governor of the Bank of England, Sir Alistair Grant. With their cut-glass accents and glazed, robotic delivery of their lines, they seemed to fit the stereotype of the idiotic Sloane perfectly, right down to the ‘Okay, yah’, pronunciation. Mendoza commented ‘I don’t think this was meant to be a parody, but it’s the perfect roast of the “yah-yah” anti-left.’

Absolutely. In fact, what the girls were describing as socialism was really Communism, completely ignoring democratic socialism, or social democracy – the form of socialism that demands a mixed economy, with a strong welfare state and trade unions, progressive taxation and social mobility. It also ignored anti-authoritarian forms of socialism, like syndicalism, guild socialism or anarcho-Communism. They were also unaware that Marx himself had said that, regarding the interpretations of his views promoted by some of his followers, he wouldn’t be a Marxist.

But it would obviously be too much to expect such extremely rich, public school girls to know any of this. They clearly believed, and had been brought up to believe, the Andrew Roberts line about capitalism being the most wonderful thing every invented, a mechanism that has lifted millions around the world out of poverty. Etc. Except, as Trev, one of the great commenters on Mike’s and this blog, said

If “Capitalism works” why are there a million people using foodbanks in Britain today? Not working that well is it? Why did the Government bail out the Banks using our money? Why did the Banking system collapse in the first place, was it because of Socialism? I don’t find these idiotic spoilt brats in the least bit funny, I feel bloody angry. When was the last time they ate food they found in the street? Bring back the Guillotine!

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/08/14/these-young-ladies-of-brexit-need-to-be-seen-to-be-believed/

The two girls were passionate supporters of the Fuhrage and his wretched party, and were really looking forward to a no-deal Brexit. It shows how out of touch these girls are, as Brexit is already wrecking the British economy, and a no-deal Brexit and subsequent deal with a predatory America would just wipe it out completely. Along with everything that has made post-war Britain great – the NHS and welfare state. But these girls obviously have no connection with working people or, I guess, the many businesses that actually depend on manufacturing and exports. I think the girls’ family is part of financial sector, who stand to make big profits from Brexit, or at least are insulated from its effects because they can move their capital around the globe.

The girls’ views on the EU was similarly moronic. They really do seem to believe that the EU is somehow an oppressive, communistic superstate like the USSR. It wasn’t. And the reason anti-EU socialists, like the late, great Tony Benn distrusted it was partly because in their view it stood for capital and free trade against the interests of the nation state and its working people.

And they also have weird views on slavery and the EU’s attitude to the world’s indigenous peoples. To the comment by David Lammy, the Black Labour politico, who dared to correct Anne Widdecombe for comparing Brexit to the great slave revolts, they tweeted

“Lammy being pathetic as usual. The chains of slavery can be intangible, as amply shown in China, the Soviet Union and the EU; to deny that just shows your ignorance and petty hatred for the truth”.

To which Zelo Street commented that there two things there. First of all, it’s best not to tell a Black man he doesn’t understand slavery. And second, the EU isn’t the USSR.

They were also against the Mercosur deal the EU wishes to sign with the South American nations, because these would lead to environmental destruction and the dispossession and exploitation of the indigenous peoples.

“As usual the GREED and selfishness of the EU imposes itself using their trade ‘deals’ in the name of cooperation and fake prosperity. The indigenous tribes of the Amazon need our protection not deforestation”.

To which Zelo Street responded with incredulity about how they could claim environmental concern for a party headed by Nigel Farage.

And they went on. And on, going on about how the EU was a threat to civil liberties. And there was more than a touch of racism in their statement that Sadiq Khan should be more concerned to make all Londoners feel safe, not just EU migrants. They also ranted about how Labour had sold out the working class over Brexit in favour of the ‘immoral, money hungry London elite’. Which shows that these ladies have absolutely no sense of irony or any self-awareness whatsoever.

In fact, Zelo Street found them so moronic and robotic, that it dubbed them the Brexit party’s Stepford Daughters, referring to the 70s SF film, the Stepford Wives. Based on the novel by Ira Levin, the films about a community where the men have killed their wives and replaced them with robots.

See:  https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/08/brexit-party-presents-stepford-daughters.html

There’s a lot to take apart with their tweets. And perhaps we shouldn’t be two hard on the girls. They’re only 15 and 17. A lot of young people at that age have stupid views, which they grow out of. But there is one issue that really needs to be challenged.

It’s their assumptions about slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples. Because this is one massive problem to any assumption that capitalism is automatically good and beneficial.

There’s a very large amount of scholarship, much of it by Black activists and researchers, about slavery and the emergence of European capitalism and the conquest of the Americas. They have argued that European capitalism was greatly assisted by the profits from New World slavery. Caribbean historians like Dr Richard Hart, in his Blacks in Bondage, have shown that transatlantic slavery was a capitalist industry. For the enslaved indigenous peoples and the African men and women, who replaced them when they died out, capitalism certainly did not raise them out of poverty. Rather it has done the opposite – it enslaved them, and kept them in chains until they were able to overthrow it successfully with assistance of European and American abolitionists in the 19th century.

And among some left-wing West Indians, there’s still bitterness towards America for its constant interference in the Caribbean and Central and South America. America did overthrow liberal and progressive regimes across the world, and especially in the New World, when these dared to challenge the domination of American corporations. The overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz’s democratic socialist regime in Guatemala is a case in point. Arbenz was overthrown because he dared to nationalise the banana plantations. Which upset the American United Fruit Company, who got their government to overthrow him in coup. He was replaced by a brutal Fascistic dictatorship that kept the plantation workers as virtual slaves. And the Americans also interfered in Jamaican politics. They were absolutely opposed to the Jamaican Labour party politician, Michael Manley, becoming his nation’s Prime Minister, and so did everything they could to stop him. Including cutting trade.

And then there’s the enslavement and genocide of the indigenous peoples.

Before Columbus landed in the New World, South America had a population of about seven million. There were one million people in the Caribbean. I think there were similar numbers in North America. But the indigenous peoples were enslaved and worked to death. They were also decimated through diseases carried by Europeans, to which they had no immunity. The Taino people were driven to extinction. The Caribs, from whom the region takes its name, were able to survive on a reservation granted to them in the 18th century by the British after centuries of determined resistance. The conquest of the New World was a real horror story.

And Britain also profited from the enslavement of indigenous peoples. I doubt the girls have heard of it, but one of the scandals that rocked British imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was that of the Putomayo Indians of South America. They had been enslaved by British rubber corporations. It was this abuse of a subject people that turned the Irish patriot, Roger Casement, from a British civil servant to an ardent Nationalist.

On the other side of the world, in the Pacific, British imperialism also managed to dispossess an entire Polynesian people and trash their island. This was in the 1920s. The island was rich in mineral deposits, and so moved the indigenous people out, ultimately relocating them to Fiji. Their island was then strip-mined, leaving it a barren, uninhabitable rock. In the 1980s the survivors were trying to sue the government over their maltreatment, but with no success.

This is what unfettered British imperialism and capitalism did. And what I’ve no doubt Farage and other far right British politicians would like to do again without the restraints of international law. It’s why I believe that, whatever the demerits of the Mercosur agreement are, it’s probably better than what individual nations would do without the restraint of the EU.

The girls are right to be concerned about the fate of indigenous peoples. But they are profoundly wrong in their absolute, uninformed belief that unregulated capitalism will benefit them.

It doesn’t. It enslaves, dehumanises and dispossesses. Which is why we need international organisations like the EU, and why the Brexit party isn’t just a danger to Britain, but to the world’s weaker, developing nations and their indigenous peoples.

Labour to Help Working Poor in First Term

On a more optimist note, yesterday’s I also carried a report on page 8 by Harriet Line, ‘Labour ‘would end in-work poverty by end of first term’. This ran

Labour will eliminate the “modern-day scourge” of in-work poverty by the end of the party’s first full term back  in office, John McDonnell is to promise. 

The shadow Chancellor will pledge to make structural changes to the economy, ensure public services are free at the point of use and provide a strong social safety net to tackle the issue if his party enters government.

Mr McDonnell is to set out his party’s plans in a speech at the launch of the Resolution Foundation’s Living Standards Audit this morning.

He will say:”Behind the concept of social mobility is the belief that poverty is OK as long as some people are given the opportunity to climb out of it, leaving the others behind.

“I reject that completely, and want to see a society with higher living standards for everyone as well as one in which nobody lacks the means to survive or has to choose between life’s essentials.”

“Without any one of these three elements, we will not be able to achieve the sustained eradication of poverty, the dramatic narrowing of inequality, and the transformation of people’s lives that will be the central purpose of the next Labour government.

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said last year that ‘in-work poverty is the problem of our times’.

“I am committing today to ending this modern-day scourge, to eliminating in-work poverty by the end of Labour’s first full parliamentary term.”

The JRF executive director, Claire Ainsley, commended Labour’s “significant ambition” as being “the right thing to do”.

She added: “Delivering this commitment should be the No 1 focus for political leaders after Brexit.”

Now expect this to be attacked by the Tories, Lib Dems and Blairites. And I don’t doubt that they’re playing up about anti-Semitism in the Labour party again to try to drown out this message. It’s the precise thing they, and their masters in business, really don’t want people to hear.

All of these groups are Thatcherites to the core, and Thatcherism accepted the Neoliberal doctrine, derived from 19th century laissez-faire economics, that wages should be as low as possible. She also believed in making life harder for the unemployed in order to force them to take care of themselves, and this has been extended to other groups, like the working poor. Their poverty and poor conditions are supposed to be justified by lowering labour expenses in business, thus allowing them to become more profitable and enriching managers, proprietors and shareholders. And the constant refrain of Tories in response to complaints about low wages is that if you don’t like it, you can get another, better job elsewhere. Because the free market will supposedly also act to make employers try to remain competitive by offering the best terms and conditions to their workers. Even when the same market forces are expected to act against that very thing.

It’s Labour’s determination under Corbyn to end in-work poverty, to empower workers, giving them proper wages and restoring the welfare state after its decimation by forty years of Thatcherism, that the Tories, Lib Dems and Blairites find so threatening. And Margaret Hodge let this hidden agenda behind her faction’s attack on Corbyn and his supporters out the bag a few weeks ago.

She condemned Corbyn and his supporters for offering the working class ‘bribes’, like the above, which they could never fulfill.

Which shows that Hodge and her fellows are simply died in the wool Thatcherite entryists, who have no place in a genuinely socialist, Labour party.

As for the ability of Labour to bring this about, it reminds me of a story about a young American farm boy and the Progressive Party back in the 1920 and ’30s. The Progressive Party aimed at improving conditions in rural America, where there was and is much massive poverty. Among their policies, the Party promised to build roads to every farm. The story goes that a group out in the American countryside was discussing this. They turned to a local farm boy, whom they knew was a supporter of the Progressives, and asked him if he really believed the Progressives could actually do it. The lad replied, ‘If my dog can tree it, I’ll have it’.

And Labour can end in-work poverty, despite the threats and screams from the right. 

Book Review: Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/06/2019 - 8:49pm in

In Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin BritainRobert Verkaik explores the role that public schooling plays in reproducing inequality in Britain, showing how public schools enable wealthy families to pass down their privilege to their children who subsequently have greater access to the most lucrative and powerful areas of British society. Grounded in statistical evidence, this is a valuable contribution to debates surrounding social mobility in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone

Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain. Robert Verkaik. Oneworld. 2018.

Find this book: amazon-logo

The publication of Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain comes at a time of growing social and economic inequality, where the foundations of British society are being fundamentally questioned. A key way through which this inequality is reproduced is education, with public schooling providing a glaring case-in-point. Here, public schooling is defined as fee-paying schools operating independently from the state system of education. As Robert Verkaik articulates in his book, these schools allow the wealthy to pass down their privilege, enabling children from very privileged backgrounds to subsequently access the most lucrative and powerful areas of British society. They are then able to use these instruments of power to exacerbate their privilege. Verkaik effectively portrays this process in his book.

Posh Boys is foregrounded by an appreciation of the statistical evidence on the current state of public-school privilege today. Approximately 7% of children are privately educated, but more than 40% of the 500 most powerful people in the UK were privately educated (289), including 74% of UK senior judges, 74% of senior officers in the British Armed Forces, 55% of permanent secretaries in Whitehall, 50% of government Cabinet ministers and members of the House of Lords and a third of Russell Group university vice-chancellors (4). Thus, power is concentrated disproportionately amongst and in favour of those from a privately-educated background.

It is in this context that Verkaik delivers his critical exploration of English public schools and how, through their unrelenting success in securing advantages for their alumni, they have fundamentally contributed to many of the problems confronting contemporary British society. In this provocative book, Verkaik shows how the deeply embedded networks linking the highest echelons of British society with public schools, and specifically a small group of ‘elite’ public schools, has been and is preserved. This is done firstly by charting the development of English public schools from genuine charity to prep schools for the ruling class, and thereafter articulating how the education provided in such schools has fundamentally damaged, and continues to ruin, British society.

Image Credit: Eton, Berkshire, UK (Josh Hallett CC BY SA 2.0)

Though the book is far-reaching and touches upon a number of topics, including Brexit and child abuse scandals, in this review I will focus on two key arguments that run throughout the book. These are: (1) how the public-school sector in Britain has been politically protected, preventing reform; and (2) how social capital is central to both entry into and the outcomes of public schooling.

After introducing the origins of public schools as providers of education to ‘the community’s poorest and most needy children’ (16), Verkaik documents how these schools quickly turned into ‘Nurseries of Aristocracy’ (25), wherein fees sky-rocketed so that only those with high levels of disposable income could even consider applying. This meant that by the fifteenth century, fee-paying scholars outnumbered free scholars. Fast-forward to today: public schools still maintain their oxymoronic name but are composed of very few, if any, genuinely disadvantaged students (232-33). Instead, only 1% of all Independent Schools Council (ISC) pupils are free scholars, and many of these are questionably from socially disadvantaged backgrounds (224). Even if they are, as one public school headmaster stated: ‘You do not deal with a famine by sending a few lucky children to lunch at the Ritz’ (101).

Now, in normal circumstances, such a system of engrained privilege and inequality in access would not be sustainable in a modern democracy self-described as a ‘meritocracy’. This is particularly the case when repeated financial and academic scandals, alongside the questionable origin of fees paid, are considered. Throughout the book, Verkaik reveals how the independent, fee-paying school sector has been able to operate largely unchecked. This lack of reform is despite its modern manifestation as ‘bastions of privilege’ and exclusivity (192). The reason for the lack of government action, for Verkaik, is due to the vested interests of those tasked at reforming the public-school system, most particularly the fact that these very politicians are typically beneficiaries of that very system and/or choose to enter their children into it. Thus, a conflict of interest emerges at the heart of the policy process.

A range of evidence is given to support this claim, such as the fact that every elected prime minister since 1806, excluding Edward Heath, has had ties to the system, either through their own education or that of their family (287). Verkaik also alludes to the current political landscape being dominated by public school students, where even an opposition with socialist ideals is fronted by public schoolboys and fails to go beyond discussing the tax status of public schools. But the most effective illustrations given are how those very individuals tasked with reforming the sector were products of it. For instance, Anthony Crosland, who was oversaw the reform of public schooling in the 1960s, was privately educated himself. What Verkaik highlights is a system governed by a disproportionate number of privately-educated politicians, and importantly leaders, who then fail to fundamentally change the very system that propelled them into their privileged position.

Now, not everybody can access this exclusive system (192), especially the ‘magic circle of top schools’ (191). Verkaik unearths for the reader how a greater number of those attending these schools do so through the mobilisation of familial networks. This can manifest via the names of newly-born children being put on the ‘Eton list’ (190), calling upon government ministers to position a child’s admission as in the ‘national interest’ (199) or simply possessing the tacit understanding of the system to maximise opportunity for one’s child. Though it isn’t just in admissions where the role of social networks is illustrated. Verkaik shows how parents pay for much more than an education. Part of the service is granting entry into Oxbridge, which disproportionately recruits from fee-paying schools. In addition, ‘public schools breed networks’ (290), giving an already privileged child additional advantages and resources they can cash-in on later. It is this self-serving nature of public schools, putting school and fellow student above everything else, including nation, which Verkaik attributes to the decaying of public trust and the ‘ruining’ of British society.

However, one cautionary note is that there seems to be insufficient differentiation between the ‘top’ public schools and those less prestigious ones. Whilst they all likely enjoy advantages over most state schools, Verkaik tends to overlook how much of his evidence demonstrates how a small number of ISC schools dominate British society.

Posh Boys presents a valuable non-academic contribution to debates surrounding social mobility in Britain. It can be understood in relation to other recent publications discussing education and social (im-)mobility, including Miseducation by Diane Reay, The Class Ceiling by Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison and Engines of Privilege by David Kynaston and Francis Green. Posh Boys will have an appeal for academics, policymakers, educationalists and those interested in making Britain a more equitable country. It also has international resonance, given the recent trend of exporting British public-school provision around the world. It was only by reading this book that I truly understood the deeply engrained nature of the ‘privilege’ that is public schooling. With the two recent governments remaining dominated by the privately-educated, Her Majesty’s opposition increasing its proportion of privately-educated representatives (185) and the increasing global demand for a British public-school education, this book is ever so timely.

Ross Goldstone is an ESRC-funded PhD candidate at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, where he is studying the relationship between social class and further education participation and experience. His current interests are in educational inequality and the sociology of education, in addition to wider debates around social class, and the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu and their application in educational research. He tweets at @GoldstoneRoss.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 


Diversity troubles – comprehensive solutions to HE’s racial segregation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 9:01am in

Sol Gamsu and Michael Donnelly examine the geography of ethnicity and higher education in the UK and argue that a comprehensive university system may hold some of the answers.

The post Diversity troubles – comprehensive solutions to HE’s racial segregation appeared first on Wonkhe.

A real step change for fair access

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/08/2017 - 9:01am in

As the work of the Office for Fair Access begins to transfer to the new Office for Students, Les Ebdon offers his perspective on the way the new body will need to approach this vitally important issue.

The post A real step change for fair access appeared first on Wonkhe.

The case for intersectionality in TEF

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 25/07/2017 - 9:01am in

The split metrics in TEF allow us to see potential issues with diverse groups, but do they go far enough? Catherine Boyd and David Kernohan consider how intersectional groups could be represented.

The post The case for intersectionality in TEF appeared first on Wonkhe.

Social mobility can be much more than just widening HE access

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/07/2017 - 9:01am in

Mary Stuart reflects on the diverse ways in which universities can and do work with local schools and businesses to kickstart social mobility and address economic disadvantage and inequality.

The post Social mobility can be much more than just widening HE access appeared first on Wonkhe.

POLAR opposites – LEO and the class effect on graduate earnings

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/06/2017 - 12:45am in

We already know that a graduates' social class origins have a big impact on their graduate earnings potential. This week's LEO release gives us the opportunity to test this for different subject areas.

The post POLAR opposites – LEO and the class effect on graduate earnings appeared first on Wonkhe.

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