MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Widening the educational capabilities of socio‐economically disadvantaged students through a model of social and cultural capital development

    Hannon, Cliona and Faas, Daniel and O'Sullivan, Katriona (2017) Widening the educational capabilities of socio‐economically disadvantaged students through a model of social and cultural capital development. British Educational Research Journal, 43 (6). pp. 1225-1245. ISSN 0141-1926

    Download (152kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Widening participation programmes aim to increase the progression of students from low socio‐economic status (SES) groups to higher education. This research proposes that the human capabilities approach is a good justice‐based framework within which to consider the social and cultural capital processes that impact upon the educational capabilities of young people from low SES groups. It presents a case study which examines the developing capability set of Irish students from a representative sample of schools participating in a university‐based widening participation outreach programme aimed at increasing social and cultural capital constructs. Qualitative analysis is presented from four schools; four student focus groups with 22 student participants, and 15 individual student interviews. Findings focus on the developing capabilities of autonomy, hope, voice and identity, as well as on the relationship between specific widening participation activities and the developing capability set. The findings highlight the development of college‐focused knowledge and how this impacts upon students’ aspiration to participate in higher education. The idea of ‘widening capability’ is discussed in relation to the potential of the capability approach to contribute an additional dimension to a mainly neoliberal policy rhetoric, which emphasises the market value of higher‐education participation. In doing so, it explores how widening participation activities can influence the widening capability set of low SES students, and its relationship with what the students deem to be ‘a life of value’.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: capabilities approach; widening participation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 11741
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Katriona O'Sullivan
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 14:42
    Journal or Publication Title: British Educational Research Journal
    Publisher: Wiley
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads