Identities in context: how social class shapes inequalities in education

Easterbrook, Matthew J, Hadden, Ian R and Nieuwenhuis, Marlon (2019) Identities in context: how social class shapes inequalities in education. In: Jetten, Jolanda and Peters, Kim (eds.) The social psychology of inequality. Springer Nature Switzerland, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 103-121. ISBN 9783030288556

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Educational inequalities between social classes are large and persistent in the UK. Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have much lower attainment and engage less with education than their peers. Although structural factors contribute significantly to these inequalities, social psychological processes also play a crucial but less visible role. We draw on the social identity approach to propose a new model of how social and cultural factors in the local educational context shape the meaning of people’s social class identities in ways that create and sustain inequalities. Our identities-in-context model brings into focus educational contexts in which lower-class people: are expected to perform badly; are not well represented in high status educational roles or institutions; and are negatively disposed towards education. We argue that, for lower-class people, these contexts ignite a sense of social identity threat and incompatibility between their background and doing well in education. These, in turn, lead to poorer educational outcomes. We propose ways in which our model can be used to inform social psychological interventions that aim to reduce educational inequalities between social classes.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 09:59
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2020 10:04

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