Going to university: Family histories and post-secondary credentialing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter shows how people feel about education, particularly post-secondary education and learning experiences. It presents the histories of two extended families, how educational aspirations and attitudes toward the efficacy of education have changed from one generation to the next in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia – a Canadian coalmining town facing the end of an industrial economy. Higher education thus reproduces social stratification by increasing the social and economic capital of some more than others. The cultural capital of some of the first wave of immigrants – a love of reading, belief in the efficacy of formal education, and an appreciation for seeking out knowledge – has become economic and social capital for their children. An achievement ideology rewards individual aspirations for success and requires confidence in the meritocratic potential of educational credentials for economic opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRealizing Qualitative Research into Higher Education
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429831812
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2003 Craig Prichard and Paul Trowler. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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