Michael Donnelly (University of Bath) - Spatial structures of race and class: ‘white privilege’, spatial agency and student mobility within UK higher education

23 May 2019, 5.00 PM - 23 May 2019, 6.30 PM

The Centre of Ethnicity and Citizenship Seminar Series

Michael Donnelly (University of Bath) - Spatial structures of race and class: ‘white privilege’, spatial agency and student mobility within UK higher education

Date: 23rd May 2019 

Time: 5-7pm

Venue: G4/5 Woodland Road

Abstract:

Findings are presented here from an ESRC-funded programme of work on the spatial imaginaries and mobility intentions of over 200 young people (across 20 localities) on the cusp of entering university. A creative mapping tool was developed and used to draw out the ways in which participants perceived the socio-spatial landscape of the UK, in the context of where they saw themselves moving (and not moving). Speaking to their maps, our pariticpants were able to narrate luminous and ‘thick’ accounts of their mobility preferences, including geographic places they preferred, and those they would avoid. Hidden within their narratives are preferences that are inherently racial and class-based in character. We examine here the processes by which the whiteness of places restricts mobility for students of colour compared with the notable absence of race in the accounts of white young people. Higher education choices are embedded within spatial structures of race and class, and we illustrate this through drawing in particular on the accounts of British South Asian students from lower social class backgrounds and white upper middle class students from elite fee-paying schools.

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