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Playing a different game: The contextualised decision-making processes of minority ethnic students in choosing a higher education institution

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Heather Smith


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This paper adds to the small but growing body of literature which probes the complex decision-making processes undertaken by minority ethnic students, and particularly working-class minority ethnic students, when choosing a higher education institution. Previous studies have focussed on areas with ethnically diverse local populations. This article presents the findings of a small-scale study examining the decision-making processes of minority ethnic school, undergraduate and postgraduate (PGCE) students in a predominantly 'white' area of England. Some similarities with the previous research are found, but also some interesting contextual differences, particularly in students' prioritisation of institutions with an ethnic mix. The paper discusses how students in this context make decisions about what is an acceptable choice based on a complex inter-related web of factors relating to ethnicity, class and gender. The level of agency assumed within conceptions of habitus when applied to students' decision-making processes in the context of higher education is also discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Race Ethnicity and Education

Year: 2007

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Pages: 415-437

ISSN (print): 1361-3324

ISSN (electronic): 1470-109X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13613320701658456


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