'I'm working class and proud of it' - gendered experiences of non-traditional participants in higher education

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This article examines the gendered experiences of a small group of working-class participants in higher education through an analysis of interview data of students' recollected and current experiences around four themes: their school experiences; their later learning experiences; their views about higher education; and their attitudes to being working class. It is argued that how people describe their experiences reflects the ways in which they construct their feminine and masculine identities, which are not static but are historically and spatially situated and evolving. It is suggested that whilst a person's subjective position is as importantly influenced by, for example, race and age, as by class and gender, these are always key factors in interpreting lived experience. It concludes that through questioning the discourses of class and gender that frame the ways of thinking, problems and practices which are regarded as legitimate, it begins to be possible for students to open up new ways of thinking reflexively about the social construction of their experiences of education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-194
Number of pages12
JournalGender and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


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