2nd Edition

Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education

Edited By James E. Cote, Sarah Pickard Copyright 2022
    446 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    446 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Higher education has come under increasing public scrutiny in recent years, assailed with demands for greater efficiency, accountability, cost reduction, and, above all, job training. Drawing upon examples from across the world, with an emphasis on Anglo-American higher-education systems, this handbook employs sociological approaches to address these pressing concerns. The second edition is thoroughly updated and adds several new chapters to shed further light on the transformations wrought by the interrelated processes of massification, vocationalization, and marketization that have swept through universities in the wake of neoliberal reforms introduced by governments since the 1980s.

    The handbook explores recent developments in higher-education systems and policy as well as the everyday experiences of students and staff and ongoing problems of inequality and diversity within universities. In doing so, the chapters address a number of current issues concerning the legitimacy of higher-educational credentials, from the continuing debate regarding traditional pedagogies and the role of universities in social class reproduction to more recent concerns about standards in mass systems.

    Collectively, this handbook demonstrates that the sociology of higher education has the potential to play a leadership role in improving the myriad higher-education systems around the world that are now part of an interrelated set of subsystems, replete with both persistent problems and promising prospects. This book is therefore necessary reading for a variety of stakeholders within academia as well as professionals and policy-makers interested in understanding higher education and the acute challenges it faces.

    1. The history and scope of the sociology of higher education

    James E. Côté and Sarah Pickard 

    Section 1: Anglo-American Higher-Education Institutions through Time and Place

    Editors’ introduction

    2. The university and society: Structural change and conflicting roles

    George Fallis

    3. Higher-education phases and missions over time in Anglo-American institutions

    Sarah Pickard

    4. Maintaining status in new times: The continuing stratification of Anglo-American universities

    Scott Davies and Roger Pizarro Milian

    5. The evolving character of the US public research university: Critical organizational shifts in neoliberal context

    Jarrett B. Warshaw and James C. Hearn

    Section 2: Life in Higher-Education Institutions for Students and Faculty

    Editors’ introduction

    6. From in loco parentis to consumer choice: Examining the changing relationship between students and higher-education institutions in the United States

    Josipa Roksa and Karen Jeong Robinson

    7. The McDonaldization of higher education updated: The therapeutic turn

    Dennis Hayes and Robin Wynyard

    8. After the neoliberal university: Student voice and protest

    Rob Watts

    9. The vicious circle of academic insecurity and privatization in Western universities

    Claire Polster

    10. The digital revolution in higher education: Rhetoric and reality

    Sue Bennett

    11. Peer relations and friendship among postsecondary students

    Janice McCabe 

    Section 3: Inequality and Diversity in Higher Education

    Editors’ introduction

    12. Theories of the sociology of higher-education access and participation

    Lesley Andres

    13. The barriers to access in higher education and their alleviation

    Michael Osborne

    14. Working-class students in UK higher education: Still the elephant in the room

    Diane Reay

    15. The American working-class student experience: Swimming upstream

    Allison L. Hurst

    16. Moving towards more holistic assessment: Selective admissions in the US and England at the brink of the 2020s

    Anna Mountford-Zimdars and Michael Bastedo

    17. At-risk and unprepared students in American higher education: The impact on institutions and strategies to address the new student body landscape

    Kathleen F. Gabriel

    18. Higher education, social mobility, and unequal outcomes in the United States: A brief history

    Gary Roth 

    Section 4: Anglo-American Systems Contrasted

    Editors’ introduction

    19. Invoking Humboldt: The German model of higher education

    Alan Scott and Pier Paulo Pasqualoni

    20. Massification, marketization, vocationalization, and stratification in Russian higher education

    Anna Smolentseva

    21. Exchanging tyrannies: The impact of the neoliberalization of higher education on academics’ work life in a post-Soviet country

    Ivor Goodson and Rūta Petkutė

    22. Higher education in France: Massification, social reproduction, and social stratification

    Sarah Pickard

    23. The Nordic model of higher education from a comparative and historical perspective

    Risto Rinne and Ari Antikainen

    24. Higher education and social change in South Asia: From intellectual elitism to equality of opportunity

    Siri Hettige

    25. Convergent and divergent trends of internationalization: A comparative perspective between Japanese and Anglo-American universities

    Hiroyuki Takagi

    26. Revisiting the discourse of a Chinese model of the university: A Confucian-Legalist legacy impact perspective

    Qiang Zha

    Section 5: Higher Education in a Global Policy Perspective

    Editors’ introduction

    27. Higher education, credentialism, and social mobility

    Phillip Brown

    28. Internationalization of higher-education institutions: Challenges and opportunities

    Carolyn Ford and Julie McMullin

    29. A sociological analysis of the flows of human capital and knowledge in higher-education partnerships

    Felix Maringe and Yasmine Dominguez-Whitehead

    30.The massification of higher-education systems in Brazil and China: Institutional models and students’ experiences

    Maria Ligia Barbosa and Tom Dwyer

    31. Gender equality and inequality in global higher education in the neoliberal era

    Miriam E. David

    32. Neo-institutional approaches to understanding how higher education transforms society and the world of work

    Frank Fernandez and Justin J.W. Powell


    James E. Côté is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. His research explores the sociology of higher education, youth, and identity formation. He is the co-author of Lowering Higher Education: The Rise of Corporate Universities and the Fall of Liberal Education (University of Toronto Press, 2011) and Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis (University of Toronto Press, 2007). His other recent books include Youth Development in Identity Societies (Routledge, 2018); Identity Formation, Youth and Development: A Simplified Approach (co-authored with Charles G. Levine, Psychology Press, 2015); and Youth Studies: Fundamental Issues and Debates (Red Globe Press, 2014). He is also the founding editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research and is currently an associate editor on the Journal of Adolescence. He has also served as president of the Society for Research on Identity Formation (SRIF) and as president of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on the Sociology of Youth.

    Sarah Pickard is a senior lecturer in British politics and society and researcher in youth studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France. Her research uses a holistic approach to explore issues affecting young people, including political participation, student activism, and education. She is the author of Politics, Protest and Young People: Political Participation and Dissent in 21st Century Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is also the editor of Higher Education in the UK and the US: Converging University Models in a Global Academic World? (Brill, 2014) and Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and co-editor of When Students Protest (three volumes, Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and Young People Re-Generating Politics in Times of Crises (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is a convenor for the Political Studies Association specialist group Young People’s Politics and a vice president of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on the Sociology of Youth.

    'Work and the experience of learning in Higher Education are changing dramatically on a global scale. This insightful and comprehensive collection addresses those changes and provides an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand them. Drawing on a variety of disciplines and perspectives the handbook is the perfect starting point for undergraduate and masters courses on contemporary Higher Education.'

    Stephen J. Ball, Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Education, University College London, UK

    'This volume offers a foundational contribution to the field. The second edition reflects an impressive array of topics, thereby elucidating significant issues, debates, and transformations underway in higher education. The insights and information conveyed in these thoughtful chapters will be valuable for those who study higher education as well as participants in the enterprise writ large.'

    Patricia J. Gumport, Professor of Education, Director of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research and the founding Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs at Stanford University, USA

    'The second edition of the Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education provides a valuable and authoritative account of scholarship in the sociology of higher education today. Making clear the developments and trends in higher education, the volume situates them within established ways of conceptualising and understanding the field, and will make a valuable reference point for scholars of higher education and those who work in the sector.'

    Professor Clare Brooks, Pro-Director for Education at the UCL Institute of Education, UK