A Convergence of Opportunities: Understanding the High Elite University Progression of Disadvantaged Youth in an East London Locality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is growing evidence that London’s disadvantaged youth have a better chance at progressing to elite universities than their counterparts outside the capital. Drawing on case study research in a disadvantaged East London locality, this article suggests that a convergence of structural factors that favour elite university progression may help explain this high progression. These factors include local schools’ valorisation of elite universities and their associated prioritisation of resources and strong framing of university choices to privilege Russell Group progression. Students’ apparent advantageous access to the widening participation provision of elite universities and to internship and networking opportunities arising from London’s corporate philanthropy also appear to play important roles. The article advocates for greater strategic planning by the regulator and further partnerships across all sectors of the economy to enable a fairer distribution of widening participation opportunities nationwide. It concludes with a call to reflect on the wisdom of privileging elite university progression at all costs and asks whether we should really be championing such a narrow vision of social mobility in the first place.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Early online date2 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The case study drawn on within this article formed part of the author’s doctoral research which was funded by a University of Bath research studentship.

Keywords

  • case study research
  • East London
  • elite universities
  • geographies of higher education
  • social mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Convergence of Opportunities: Understanding the High Elite University Progression of Disadvantaged Youth in an East London Locality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this