The geographies of UK university halls of residence: examining students' embodiment of social capital
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Recent investigations into ‘student geographies’ have recognised the complex ways in which students from different backgrounds go about ‘fitting in’ among their peers within universitymanaged accommodation. Halls have been characterised in the literature as highly pressurised spaces in which multiple (and potentially conflicting) identities can perpetuate disadvantage through incongruous accessibility to student-centric social activities and behaviours. This paper joins these debates by critically examining universities’ ‘Student Accommodation’ web pages alongside qualitative interviews in order to question notions of halls being inclusive and encouraging a cultural mix. Using Bourdieu’s reading of social capital this paper suggests that, while these spaces may perpetuate disadvantaged access to social capital, some students may transcend this, drawing on other forms of non-student social capital which legitimises their position among their peers in halls. This adds to previous discussions of ‘difference’ by highlighting the power of social capital in transforming individuals’ positions within social groupings.
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