Social class reproduction: A case study at a large public university
AuthorSanders, Samson Emery
AdvisorWoodard, Dudley B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this study, I investigated a university as an identity formation site. In particular, I analyzed the formation of social class identity and its relationship to social class reproduction. Social class reproduction theory, with identity formation and retention theories, were utilized to help explain the findings. The primary source of data for this qualitative study consisted of semi-structured interviews. In addition, I employed surveys and observational data collection techniques. The sample consisted of a group of 12 students from an upper-middle class background and 14 students from a lower-middle class background attending the same university. Data primarily consisted of the students' perceptions of their experiences during high school and while they were attending the university. The relative perceptions, expectations, and aspirations of the students' college experiences were discussed in light of social class reproduction theory. I found relatively few white male students from lower-middle class attending the university. The aspirations and expectations of the upper-middle class students were much higher than those of the lower-middle class students, even though the grade point average of the two groups was the same. Evidence suggested social class standing prior to enrollment, as well as experiences at the university, contributed to social class identity formation, aspirations, expectations, and potential professional outcomes after graduation. Old theories were challenged and new theories were proposed to inform the relationship between identity formation, aspirations, and outcomes in the university setting.
Degree ProgramGraduate College