Reappraising the importance of class in higher education entry and persistence



Field J & Morgan-Klein N (2013) Reappraising the importance of class in higher education entry and persistence. Studies in the Education of Adults, 45 (2), pp. 162-176.

Social class is a major determining factor of people's life chances. Much sociology-based research shows that socio-economic position is still one of the best predictors of who will achieve success, prosperity and social status and, in particular, who will enjoy the highest levels of educational outcomes. Survey data and qualitative studies alike confirm that many people continue to see class as a feature of everyday life, in ways that are connected with their understanding of learning and its possibilities. However, despite its continued significance in people's lives, class has virtually disappeared from modern adult learning research. This paper concludes that in an era when governments across Europe are setting about the dismantling of social support and collective protection produced by social democracy and trade unionism, class analysis presents an important means of understanding change and changing understanding.

class; higher education; intersectionality; retention; learning identity

Studies in the Education of Adults: Volume 45, Issue 2

Publication date30/09/2013
PublisherNational Institute of Adult Continuing Education
Publisher URL…0000002/art00005

People (1)


Professor John Field

Professor John Field

Emeritus Professor, Education