Same Folks, Different Strokes: Class, Culture, and the “New” Diversity at Elite Colleges and Universities
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CitationJack, Anthony Abraham. 2016. Same Folks, Different Strokes: Class, Culture, and the “New” Diversity at Elite Colleges and Universities. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractBeginning in 1998, selective colleges began adopting no-loan admissions policies to increase socioeconomic diversity. These colleges, however, get their new diversity from old sources. I show how half of lower-income black undergraduates at elite colleges graduate from boarding, day, and preparatory schools like Exeter and Andover, those whom I call the Privileged Poor, while their peers enter from local, typically troubled public schools—those whom I call the Doubly Disadvantaged (Jack 2014, 2015a). This dissertation draws on in-depth interviews with 103 black, Latino, and white undergraduates and two years of ethnographic observation at pseudonymous Renowned University to explore what sociologists Stevens, Armstrong, and Arum (2008) call, “the experiential core of college life,” the often-overlooked moments between college entry and exit when undergraduates employ different cultural competencies to navigate college and how university policies facilitate this process. Each chapter examines moments of social contact: (1) micro-interactions between peers, (2) engagement between undergraduates and college officials, and (3) undergraduates’ experiences navigating university policies. There are instances where lower social class status is oppressive, but also there are times when cultural resources serve as social buffer to class marginalization. Equally important, I document not only how university practices can exacerbate preexisting inequalities, but also how their effects are unequally distributed. Where the Privileged Poor and Doubly Disadvantaged’s experiences differ, disparate cultural endowments play a larger role in shaping undergraduates’ well-being. Where their experiences align, shared economic disadvantage is more salient. Examining the experiences of those who travel different trajectories to college extends theories of social reproduction and deepens our understanding of both the reproduction of inequality in college and how university policies facilitate these processes.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493607
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