A BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event: Are Elite Universities Meritocratic?

Are Elite Universities Meritocratic?

A BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event

Tuesday 8th
July 2014 10am-5pm

Cardiff University
Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII
Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT

Keynote Speakers
Professor Diane Reay and Dr. Vikki Boliver

Bourdieu talks about university being a process of ‘elimination’ for
those who lack the type of ‘capital’ valued by those institutions. In
the UK meritocracy is promoted, the idea that one’s position in
society is determined by ability plus effort rather than background.
However, despite the gap closing slightly in recent years, young
people from disadvantaged backgrounds are still much less likely to
be admitted to higher education and specifically to elite universities.
UCAS data (2013) shows that young people from the most
advantaged areas are still 7.5 times more likely than those from the
most disadvantaged to enter a higher tariff institution. Moreover
Black and Asian young people are much less likely to receive an
offer from a Russell group university than their White counterparts.
In a context where universities are charging up to £9,000 it is
important to scrutinise their admissions processes. This conference
will do just that, asking the following questions: Are elite
universities meritocratic? What role does class and race play in their
admissions processes? The conference will also consider the
question of what happens to the minority of disadvantaged students
that do make it through the system. Overall asking a crucial question:
Are elite universities –themselves- reproducing inequality?

To cover expenses, the event costs: £35 – BSA member students; £40 -BSA
member non-students and £50 – Non-BSA members. Lunch, refreshments and
a wine reception will be provided.

To register please go to:



10:00- 10:30: Registration/Tea and coffee

10:30 -10:45: Welcome by convenors

10:45 – 12:00: Dr Vikki Boliver ‘Meritocracy and fairness
in elite university admissions’

12:00- 13:00: Lunch

13:00 – 14:15: Professor Diane Reay ‘Elite universities and
their centrality in the reproduction of educational

14:15 – 14:30: Tea and coffee break

14:30 – 16:00: Panel Discussion- Dr Vikki Boliver (Durham
University); Professor Harriet Bradley (UWE Bristol)
Professor David James (Cardiff University) Professor Diane
Reay (University of Cambridge); Mr Richard Smith

16:00 – 17:00: Wine reception

17:00: Close and depart for dinner/drinks

For further info contact: events@britsoc.org.uk or (0191) 383 0839
For academic queries contact: Jessie Abrahams: abrahamsjj@cardiff.ac.uk
For more info about the BSA Bourdieu Study Group:


Categories: Higher Education

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