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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Samantha Shields


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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.This book explores the identities, choices and emotions of working-class women undergraduates. These experiences are analysed through the Critical Realist concept of ‘internal conversation’ (Archer, Realist social theory: The morphogenetic approach. Cambridge University Press, 1995; Structure, agency and the internal conversation. Cambridge University Press, 2003). Twenty undergraduates took part in semi-structured interviews and included twelve working-class women. The participants were thematically labelled as ‘Horizon-Expanders’, ‘Incremental-Hybrids’, ‘Returners’ and ‘Mobility-Maintainers’. The working-class women showed varying levels of autonomous reflexivity and communicative reflexivity. Autonomous reflexives were characterised by making choices independently and these choices typically involved disjuncture with their natal backgrounds. On the other hand, communicative reflexives were characterised by making decisions in conjunction with significant others. This study suggests that these variations in the working-class women’s ‘type’ of internal conversation led to differential choices and experiences in relation to higher education.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shields S

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Working Class Female Students' Experiences of Higher Education : Identities, Choices and Emotion

Year: 2021

Pages: 1-18

Print publication date: 10/11/2021

Online publication date: 10/11/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2020

Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Place Published: Cham


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-88935-7_1

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783030889340