Youth and access to higher education: on the non-place of preparatory course student
Keywords:Higher Education, Inequalities, Meritocracy, Sociology of Youth
The text aims to understand the challenges and perspectives of young people from working-class background about the transition to higher education. It is based on a fieldwork carried out in Brasilia/Federal District in 2018 that draws on the application of more than two hundred questionnaires in community preparatory courses and interviews with twenty youngsters. The results indicate the existence of a non-place of a preparatory course student characterized by the absence of links between individuals and educational or work institutions. There is a friction between logics of action that contradictorily meet and combine in the statements of the interviewees: sometimes they perceive higher education as a vocation to be claimed through effort, sometimes as one among other opportunities to “run after.” On one hand, meritocratic perspectives stimulate them to invest in options of programs, careers, and institutions that are more daring, allegedly related to their personal vocation; on the other hand, the successive failures in the transition attempts or the previous difficulties in their school trajectories force them to opt for more pragmatic paths, reproducing logics of “knowing how to get by” that mark their experiences beyond the educational field. This discussion elucidates how the expansion process has responded to a change in the way that access to education itself is understood.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Adriano Souza Senkevics, Marília Pinto de Carvalho
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