22 SES 13 A, Barriers and Policies for Access to Higher Education In Belgium, England and France
In France and in England, where higher education systems are strongly segmented, widening participation policies aim at increasing the participation of working class pupils to elite institutions. These schemes are strongly influenced by a large range of literature –including works in the sociology of education-, which highlight self-censorship among working–class students and incomplete access to information about admissions into higher education as two of the main sources for social reproduction. In this presentation, we plan to discuss the role of gender on the academic strategies of students benefiting from these schemes. We argue that while this question is taken into consideration by secondary school teachers, the powerful narrative logics produced by higher education institutions as well as a strong “institutional passivity” contribute to delegating gender issues to lower status staff, making girl students potentially more sensitive to different forms of inequalities within higher education, even in this type of schemes. On a methodological level, this paper will be based on an ethnographic survey (observation and interviews with students and staff) conducted from 2005 to 2010 in three elite universities in France and England.
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