Higher education differentiation and the myth of meritocracy: the case of the UK

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The UK possesses one of the most unequal societies in the developed world together with one of the most stratified higher education systems. The chapter explores the relationships between these two features of modern British society. It draws on the concept of 'meritocracy' to explore the ways in which a massified and differentiated higher education system is able to contribute simultaneously to both social reproduction and social change. It also considers the implications for the experiences of students, both academic and social.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Globalisation Challenge for European Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationHigher Education Differentiation and the Myth of Meritocracy
EditorsP. Zgaga, U. Teichler, J. Brennan
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783653065084
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameHigher Education Research and Policy


  • differentiation
  • elite reproduction
  • higher education
  • inequality
  • meritocracy
  • social change
  • social mobility
  • universities


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