Differentiation in higher education

Authored by: Caroline Berggren

Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138778122
eBook ISBN: 9781315772233
Adobe ISBN: 9781317677789


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To understand differentiation in higher education, it is not sufficient to discuss only higher education. Higher education is one of many formal institutions in society that is influenced by a wide range of other institutions. By the time students enter higher education a selection process has already occurred on the basis of family background, neighbourhood influence and previous schooling. The organisation of the labour market also needs to be considered because it gives a picture of what is required, what is suitable and what is possible for different groups of people. In the same vein, our history influences our thinking. This chapter focuses on students; the mention of university personnel will be brief.

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