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Navigating the Social Space of Elite Universities: Graduate Students' Experiences in the United Kingdom and United States

Tue, April 9, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Floor: 800 Level, Hall F


This paper draws on Pierre Bourdieu’s analysis of educational practice to examine how the transfer of economic, social and cultural capital reproduces inequalities of class and status in society. Based on 49 in-depth interviews with graduate students at elite universities in the USA and the UK this paper argues that elite universities perpetuate and reproduce access to elite social and cultural capital for a small cohort of privileged students. By attending such universities, graduate students are able to use this experience to gain access to greater opportunities which works to perpetuate a system of privilege for the select few.