NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ833005
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-0142-5692
University as Vocational Education: Working-Class Students' Expectations for University
Lehmann, Wolfgang
British Journal of Sociology of Education, v30 n2 p137-149 Mar 2009
Labor market conditions, a pervasive public discourse about the benefits of higher education, and parental hopes push many young working-class people into university. The institutional culture and demands of university, however, often remain elusive and fraught with uncertainty. In this paper, I draw on qualitative interviews with first-generation, working-class students at a Canadian university to analyze the ways in which these students discuss their reasons to attend and their expectations for university, and the implications of their attitudes for their future success at university. Analysis of the interview data shows how the relatively high and risky investment of working-class youth in education leads to strong utilitarian and vocational orientations toward university. Although a narrow focus on the career potential of university is generally perceived as problematic, I argue that it may also help working-class students in their transition to university. Nonetheless, a critical educational process is necessary that not only helps working-class students achieve their educational and occupational goals, but also understand their unique status in a social institution that they entered as outsiders.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada