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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Our journeys: A narrative inquiry into the experiences of students from working class backgrounds as they pursue higher education
by Klose, E. Kathryn, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2011, 420; 3495392
Abstract (Summary)

Students from working class backgrounds are less likely to graduate from college than their middle class peers. This narrative inquiry explores the personal stories of four graduate students from working class backgrounds who recently earned masters' degrees at a large public online university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. By considering themes in the participants' narratives in juxtaposition to those found in the grand narrative of working class students found in the literature, the author reveals elements in the participants' experiences that conform to, challenge, and stand outside of the grand narrative the informs current understanding of the inhibiting and facilitating factors that influence the success of working class students in higher education. Themes related to economic disadvantage, poor academic preparation, lack of moral support and financial stressors illustrate concepts of the grand narrative. Themes related to family structure, self-regulation, and deference to authority challenge the dominant discourse of the grand narrative. Emergent themes of individualism, individualization, self-determination and perseverance stand outside the grand narrative, countering its story of deficit, and illustrating the power of narratives in providing insights into the multiple realities of working class students.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Selden, Steven
Commitee: Greenberg, James, Hultgren, Francine, Mawhinney, Hanne, Selden, Steven, Splaine, John
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Education Policy, and Leadership
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Education, Higher education
Keywords: Classes in higher education, Social class, Working class backgrounds, Working class students
Publication Number: 3495392
ISBN: 978-1-267-18852-6
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