Category: Higher Education

Book Review: Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost by Caitlin Zaloom

In Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost, Caitlin Zaloom draws on more than 160 interviews with college students and their families to explore how middle-class households in the US pay for university. This is a timely and accessible study that breaks through the taboo surrounding family finances, making useful sociological points not only about the cost of higher education, but also […]

Book Review: Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy by Richard Watermeyer

In Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy, Richard Watermeyer critically explores the increasing quantification of academic life and the rise of the marketised competitive university. This book particularly succeeds in not only exploring the futility and counterproductiveness of quantified academic performance metrics, but also revealing how complicity among some academics allows these practices to become even […]

A degree of studying –  Students who treat education as a commodity perform worse than their intrinsically motivated peers

One of the pivotal transformations in the marketisation of higher education has been the introduction of tuition fees. A degree from a higher education institution can now, to some extent, be purchased like any other commodity.  In this post Louise Bunce presents evidence that students who identify as consumers of their education perform worse academically than students motivated by an […]

For the humanities to play a stronger role in public policy making, they must move from individual to institutional engagement

What should society expect from the humanities? This question has become pressing in the debate around interdisciplinary research in support of public policy that aims to tackle societal issues. To influence that policy effectively, argues Frans Brom, the humanities must transcend individualism. This would mean not only abandoning “outsider” perspectives focusing solely on criticism of power through individual political action, […]

What we talk about when we talk about universities, a review essay

The history of universities, including in the UK, is always also the history of the political community; their future, equally, dependent on the future of the community as a whole. In this review essay, Jana Bacevic examines two recent books that offer a good illustration of this point, Who Are Universities For? by Tom Sperlinger, Josie McLellan and Richard Pettigrew and British Universities in the Brexit Moment by Mike Finn.  This review […]

Bibliodiversity – What it is and why it is essential to creating situated knowledge

Vibrant scholarly communities are sustained by publishing outlets that allow researchers to address diverse audiences. Whereas, attention is often focused on international publication, much of this work is supported by publications that address national and regional audiences in their own languages. In this post, Elea Giménez Toledo, Emanuel Kulczycki, Janne Pölönen and Gunnar Sivertsen explain the importance of bibliodiversity to […]

Pushing research to the limit – Who innovates in social science research?

Innovation in any field of research often runs the risk of being poorly judged and misunderstood by researchers beholden to more conventional methods. What then allows researchers to undertake research that could leave them ostracised from their disciplinary communities? In this post, Sharon Koppman and Erin Leahey highlight how the development of interdisciplinary identities, association with key organisations, and the […]

Managing secrets in higher education

In this re-post, Morten Hansen uses secrecy as a prism to deconstruct dynamics and processes in higher education. The reflections spring from various research projects on topics ranging from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, public-private partnerships, and new education markets. The post begins with experiences that Morten has had interviewing senior decision makers in the higher education sector as part of […]

Book Review: Higher Education and Social Inequalities: University Admissions, Experiences and Outcomes edited by Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward

In Higher Education and Social Inequalities, Richard Waller, Nicola Ingram and Michael R.M. Ward bring together contributors to explore and evidence how university admissions, experiences and outcomes are influenced by wider inequalities within society. This collection adds to the contemporary re-emergence of class analysis within the sociology of education and will contribute to debates surrounding the future of higher education in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone. This […]