Framing higher education: questions and responses in the British Social Attitudes survey, 1983-2010
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
© 2013 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
This article focuses on questions and attitudes towards higher education in the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series. First, we analyse the changing BSA questions (1983-2010) in the context of key policy reports. Our results show that changes in the framing of higher education questions correspond with changes in the macro-discourse of higher education policies. Second, we focus on the 2010 BSA survey responses to investigate how attitudes towards higher education are related to respondents' characteristics. Respondents' socio-economic position predicts attitudes towards higher education. Graduates and professionals are most likely to support a reduction in higher education opportunities, but those who have so far benefitted least from higher education are supportive of expansion. One interpretation - with potential implications for social mobility - is that those who have already benefited from higher education are most inclined to pull the ladder up behind them.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 34 (5/6), pp. 792 - 811