1st Edition

Student Voices on Inequalities in European Higher Education Challenges for theory, policy and practice in a time of change

Edited By Fergal Finnegan, Barbara Merrill, Camilla Thunborg Copyright 2014
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on the voices and experiences of non-traditional students in European higher education. It examines the impact that access to higher education is having on these students’ lives and discusses what this tells us about European education and society. In particular, it explores the multi-dimensional nature of inequality in varied national contexts focusing on the issues of class, gender, ethnicity, age and disability. The book contributes to the on-going debate about the changing nature of European higher education and argues that research based on the experiences of non-traditional students can be used to improve policy and practice in tertiary education.

    Drawing on biographical narrative interviews with ‘non-traditional’ students, the book covers topics including:

    • the contemporary nature of inequality and how the various forms of inequality intersect and overlap in higher education and society

    • the formation and transformation of learner identities

    • the structural barriers faced by non-traditional students

    • the sources of student resilience and agency

    • a comparison of patterns of inequality, access and retention in various European countries

    • the implications of these findings for practice and policies.

    Student Voices on Inequalities in Higher Education will appeal to academics, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners working in higher education institutions as well as people working in the field of widening participation, adult education, access and centres for teaching and learning. It will also be of interest to postgraduate students in higher education.

    Introduction  Part 1: Working Transnationally: Theory and Methodology  Theorising Student Experience: Structure, Agency and Inequality Ted Fleming and José González-Monteagudo.  Researching Student Experience  Linden West, Agnieszka Bron and Barbara Merrill  Part 2: Student Voices  Capital Matters: Interrogating the Sociology of Reproduction and the Psychosociality of Transition and Potential Transformation in the UK Linden West.  Critical Theory of Non-Traditional Students’ Experience in Irish Higher Education Fergal Finnegan and Ted Fleming.  Ethnicity and Class Matters: Experiences in Swedish Higher Education Agnieszka Bron, Camilla Thunborg and Eva Edström.  Gender and Age: Negotiating and Experiencing Higher Education in England Barbara Merrill.  Non-Traditional Students and Barriers to Participation in German Universities Frank Schőmer.  Disability and Learner Identities in Scotland John Field and Natalie Morgan-Klein.  Equality and Improving Retention Practices for Non-Traditional Students in Poland Ewa Kurantowicz and Adrianna Nizinska.  Social Inequalities and Family Support for Non-Traditional Students in Andalusia, Spain José González-Monteagudo and Miguel Angel Ballesteros-Moscosio.  The Unwanted Students: Closure Tendencies in the German University System Peter Alheit  Part 3: Comparative Transnational Dialogue: Conclusions  Enduring Inequalities and Student Agency: Theorising an Agenda for Change in Higher Education Fergal Finnegan, Ted Fleming and Camilla Thunborg.  Retention and Access in Higher Education: Implications for Policy and Practice John Field.


    Fergal Finnegan is Lecturer in Adult and Community Education at the Department of Adult and Community Education, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland.

    Barbara Merrill is Associate Professor in Lifelong Learning at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick, UK.

    Camilla Thunborg is Associate Professor in Education at the Department of Education, Stockholm University, Sweden.

    "It promised and delivered, views of student voices on striving, struggling and achieving success in higher education...I learnt something in all chapters"- Dennis Bryant, Australian Universities' Review, Vol.56, No.2, 2014

    "What makes this book so pertinent is that it narrates, maps and explores the experiences of non-traditional students thereby delivering a ‘root and branch’ analysis of their journey […] As a practitioner working with non-traditional students I would highly recommend this book to all teachers, support staff, educational management, academics and policy makers who are working in this area." – Shane Cullinane, The Adult Learner (The Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education)