CHAPTER 6

Why Doesn’t the Working Class Get with It and Go to College?

EDUCATIONAL LEVELS DO NOT just reflect social class, they are constitutive of it. Graduating from college is a class act that both enacts class status and reproduces it.

Pierre Bourdieu, whose name is associated with the idea that class is expressed through cultural differences, urges us to pay attention to the taken-for-granted assumptions different groups use to create their reality.95 Higher education is a perfect example: in elite families, it’s simply unthinkable not to go to college (no matter how much debt you have to take on to do it). A common sentiment among the white working class is that college is optional—and sometimes, undesirable.

Michael Long* expressed it ...

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