Access to Inequality

Access to Inequality : Reconsidering Class, Knowledge, and Capital in Higher Education

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Set against the backdrop of democratization, increased opportunity, and access, income-based gaps in college entry, persistence, and graduation continue to grow, underlining a deep contradiction within American higher education. In other words, despite the well-intended, now mature process of democratization, the postsecondary system is still charged with high levels of inequality. In the interest of uncovering the mechanisms through which democratization, as currently conceived, preserves and perpetuates inequality within the system of higher education, this book reconsiders the role of social class in the production and dissemination of knowledge, the valuation of cultural capital, and the reproduction of social inequalities. Drawing upon the author's year-long qualitative research study within one "democratized" institution of higher education and its associated art museum, Access to Inequality explores the vestiges of an exclusionary history within higher education and the art world-two related contexts that have arguably failed to adequately respond to the public's call to democratize.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 148 pages
  • 154.94 x 226.06 x 17.78mm | 385.55g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 black & white illustrations
  • 0739169327
  • 9780739169322
  • 2,188,007

Review quote

Stich has a well-defined remit that assists in her analysis of some contemporary practices in parts of North American higher education: she is also a very talented writer. Her title appears a deliberately provocative response to the now-familiar question 'access to what'? The answer she sets out is a chilling one for liberal-minded educators (amongst whom I often include myself) but perhaps not so surprising for those who try to take a strongly reflexive sociological view of higher education in their research (amongst whom I also include myself)...What is even more impressive is her capacity to oscillate back and forth between system-level features and the most 'micro' of everyday social processes...I would argue that Access to Inequality already provides powerful justification for more radical action in terms of admissions, perhaps drawing lessons from affirmative action policies. British Journal of Sociology of Education Access to Inequality is a passionate and lyrical account of the workings of class and privilege in higher education. Beautifully written, it constitutes both a carefully considered, reflexive ethnography of access to elite knowledge and a powerful call for real democratization of our universities. -- Diane Reay, University of Cambridge Amy Stich's Access to Inequality: Reconsidering Class, Knowledge, and Capital in Higher Education is the most original and important book on knowledge and power I have read in recent years. Here, Stich demonstrates the ways colleges-in particular, less elite comprehensive schools-are using art programs and museums to 'open up' privileged knowledge to broader communities. Stich puts us at the center of the resulting tensions and complexities, illuminating a discussion of cultural capital with stunning and nuanced ethnographic detail. This is a masterful intervention. -- Greg Dimitriadis, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
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About Amy E. Stich

Amy E. Stich is a postdoctoral research associate at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1: The Democratization of American Higher Education Chapter 2: Class, Knowledge, and Capital in Interconnected Context Chapter 3: Reputational Affects: Inside a Working Class College Chapter 4: Classifying Knowledge by Hand, by Head Chapter 5: Elite Knowledge within a Non-Elite Space: Language, Literacy and "Intertextual Habituality" Chapter 6: Re-conceiving Democratization Appendix: A Note on Methods
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