International Studies in Sociology of Education Call for Papers for a Forthcoming Special Issue

Higher Education, Social Inequalities and Aspiration

International Studies in Sociology of Education

This Special Issue will represent new leading international sociological work on the nature of social inequalities and constructions of aspiration in and through higher education in a global context. 

Universities jostle for global rankings and world-class status, reflecting institutional, regional and international aspirations, yet inviting us to rethink the global challenges of higher education. In a growing range of national and international contexts, massification of higher education has led to ‘credential inflation and underemployment' where the number of graduates outstrips the demands of graduate labour markets. Elsewhere, emerging higher education sectors look to learn from more established systems. There is inequitable access to global employment markets in relation to individuals’ social backgrounds as well as by their geo-political positioning, leading to the entrenchment of multiple social inequalities. It is therefore timely to question the role of higher education in societies globally and to problematize the positioning of higher education as a means of promoting social and/or geographical mobility.

We wish to examine individual, institutional and international contexts in the framings of aspiration and implications for the pursuit of social justice through higher education. We aim to critique dominant views on the role of higher education which are focused on a human capital imperative centred around career status and salary. We invite authors to question hegemonic discourses of aspiration related to careers and educational achievement and contributions that sociologically analyse social inequalities in and through higher education. We particularly welcome intersectional approaches to understanding social inequalities and issues of structure and agency in relation to individual and institutional aspiration and future orientation.

Papers can address any national, transnational or international context. Papers may range from policy perspectives to theoretical and empirical works addressing significant ideas and practices that will resonate with a wide international readership. 

The Special Issue will represent new leading international work on higher education, social inequalities and aspiration in the field of sociology of education.

Instructions for Submissions

International Studies in Sociology of Education invite authors to discuss proposed papers with the guest editors by submitting a 250 word abstract by 8 December 2017.

Full manuscripts should be submitted via ISSE’s online submission system by 14 May 2018.

See the ISSE website for information about preparing and submitting manuscripts.


Submissions and enquiries:

Guest Editors:

Dr Tamsin Bowers-Brown, University of Derby,

Dr Ciaran Burke, University of Ulster,

Dr Nicola Ingram, University of Lancaster,