Women and higher education: narratives of middle class, mother-daughter dyads

Linda Cooper

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


    This qualitative research explores women's experiences of accessing higher education (HE) in England, through the mother–daughter relationship. Women's pathways to university and their funding histories are presented from both past and recent generations, to contextualise an understanding of funding HE in light of the 2012 tuition fee increase. Interview data indicate that the middle-class mothers in this study continue to engage and mediate their social, cultural and economic capital to enhance their daughters' education beyond secondary school and into the tertiary sector. Subsequently, social and educational mobility has been reproduced or transformed positively in all of the dyads. A Bourdieusian approach is used to explore the class-inflected patterns and themes between habitus, capital and field in the process of accessing HE. The advantage of mothers' continuing support through the mobilisation of capitals, along with their suggestions of anxiety surrounding tuition fees exacerbate the possibility of the marginalisation of access to HE for those from more disadvantaged or less-supported social backgrounds
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5
    Pages (from-to)624-639
    Number of pages16
    JournalGender and Education
    Issue number5
    Early online date25 Jun 2013
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2013


    • Higher education
    • Social class
    • Tuition fees
    • Mothering
    • Capital


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