On establishing a modus vivendi: The exercise of agency in decisions to participate or not participate in higher education

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Abstract

It is becoming increasingly clear that the notion of 'removing barriers' offers a limited foundation for widening participation to higher education. Drawing on realist social theory, we consider how decisions to participate or not participate form part of a process to establish a modus vivendi or 'way of life' for oneself. We explore factors that affect how individuals pursue courses of action around entry into potentially alien educational contexts. Our analysis suggests that interventions designed to widen participation should take account of different modes of reflexive deliberation, underpinning social and cultural structures, and a range of notions of human flourishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalLondon Review of Education
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009

Keywords

  • widening participation
  • Realist social theory
  • reflexive deliberation
  • Higher education policy
  • equality

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