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The Line Between

Date: Tuesday 17 March 2020
Time: 05.17 PM to 05.17 PM
Venue: Room 12.4.19, Charles Street Building,

The Line Between

Anna Ambrose

Örebro University, Sweden

One of my main interests as a researcher is finding ways to address social inequalities at all levels of education and within my current research project within the field of higher education. Previous research has consistently shown that students with parents who have not studied at university are less likely to pursue a university education even when they achieve well in school. Within the Swedish context, several educational initiatives have sought to increase the number of students from non-academic backgrounds going into higher education. One of these is “The Line,” a participation-broadening initiative, which we have studied within an interdisciplinary and mixed-method research project, The Line Between Secondary and Higher Education

During the seminar, I will talk about the overall results of this research project, where we have identified both possibilities and challenges with this initiative. Furthermore I will discuss our forthcoming article connected to this research project in which we interviewed 32 first-in-family university students about their experiences of moving onto and adapting to university life. In the article we build upon Bourdieu´s concept of habitus to analyse these experiences and distinguish between Outsiders, who state that they have adjusted poorly and feel radically different from their student peers; Strangers, who claim they have adjusted to university life but describe that they often struggle with feeling different from their peers; and Adjusters, who state that they have adapted quickly and do not feel that they stand out from other students. Among the Adjusters and some of the Strangers, we identify five key factors over the course of life that are significant for explaining these adjustment outcomes: family resources, early social environment, tracking opportunities, peers, and partners.


Anna Ambrose, is a postdoctoral researcher in Educational Studies at Örebro University, Sweden, where she is conducting a research project, The Line Between Secondary and Higher Education. Her research interests are within the educational field, specifically within the areas of social justice and equity in education but also around social relations and relationships between individuals, schools and society. Primarily she uses Bourdieu as a theorist but is also interested in cultural sociology and educational philosophy as ways of understanding education in contemporary society.  Methodologically she uses ethnographical methods and interviews. Ambrose holds a PhD in Child and Youth Studies from Stockholm University (2017) where she focused on how students, teachers and parents navigate the educational landscape within an ethnically and socially polarised urban area. Ambrose has been director of education and a school teacher in social science at high school prior to her work in academia.

To book your place for this seminar please visit our Eventbrite listing.

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