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Sociological Imagination: Western's Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal


As the enrollment of first-generation university students increases it becomes paramount to analyze their unique experiences. It is important not to dismiss these students as passively accepting of their lower-class positions, but rather recognize their potential for mobility. This paper works under the assumption that students have found a way to confront barriers to university access, and have already gained enrollment within an institution. Thus, the focus centers upon experiences within the university setting as they pertain to support systems, engagement within the university, and academic achievement. Such experiences are framed within the theoretical confines of Pierre Bourdieu and his cultural reproduction theory, which speaks to issues of capital. These arguments are enhanced through theories of cultural mismatch, as well as the works of Erving Goffman and his notes on stigma. Ideally, this paper seeks to inform university policy such that relevant programming and support may be established for first-generation students.

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