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The Economic Lives of Students: The Relation between Economic and Educational Capital at Different Places in the Landscape of Swedish Higher Education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The number of students in Swedish higher education has increased dramatically during the last 25 years, with a growing proportion of the population enrolled as a result. At the same time the economic inequalities in society at large has increased, indicating that these inequalities increasingly are reaching into the life of the average student. However, apart from reports on the challenges for students to make ends meet on a very general level, there is a striking lack of knowledge on where in the educational landscape the situation is particularly dire and for which students the available financial means for pursuing higher studies are especially scarce – or abundant.

The Swedish student aid system – together with the other Nordic equivalents – is generally perceived to be generous, given the universal nature of the system: all students have access to it. As a consequence, in the political as well as the scientific discourse there is a widespread perception that there are no real financial barriers for entering higher education. However, the public financial arrangement has an extensive degree of private co-funding. Apart from a minor grant the bulk of the public money available comes in the form of a universal right to take study loans.

This paper has two analytical objectives. First to examine how different modes of study financing (the specific combination of sources such as study loans, wage labour, own and inherited wealth, etc.) are distributed in the landscape of Swedish higher education. Second, to analyse how this economic distribution is related to the distribution of the formal prerequisites for entering higher education (grades and/or results from aptitude tests). Thereby the paper sheds light onto the material preconditions for acquiring meritocratic goods in a social democratic welfare regime.

Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of education serves at the main theoretical point of departure. What is the importance of economic capital – the dominant form of capital in capitalist societies according to Bourdieu – for the accumulation of educational capital? Datasets from Statistics Sweden, covering all students in Swedish higher education, are utilized to answer the posed research questions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150135OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150135DiVA, id: diva2:1165263
Conference
BSA Annual Conference: Recovering the Social: Personal Troubles and Public Issues, Manchester, England, April 4-6, 2017
Available from: 2017-12-13 Created: 2017-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
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More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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