The Making of a Left-Behind Class

Educational Stratification, Meritocracy and Widening Participation

Despite the high aspirations of young people from disadvantaged communities, they face barriers that are frustrating the realisation of their educational ambitions. This book analyses the ‘left-behind’ phenomenon and explains how denied educational equality undermines social cohesion and what we can do about it.

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Despite the high aspirations of young people from disadvantaged communities, they face barriers that are frustrating the realisation of their educational ambitions.

This book analyses the ‘left-behind’ phenomenon and shows how education has become the new divide in Western society. It explains how denied educational equality and frustrated opportunity are undermining social cohesion and what we can do about it. It challenges meritocratic thinking and the efficacy of widening participation as a policy for social inclusion.

Combining analysis of educational disadvantage at an international level and among Travelling communities with empirical data derived from fieldwork with parents, teachers and students in the European Union (Ireland), this book offers fresh thinking and new hope in relation to young people left behind in the opportunity structure.

Fred Powell served as Professor of Social Policy and founding Head of the School of Applied Social Studies at University College Cork for 25 years, Dean of Social Science and latterly Student Ombudsman.

Margaret Scanlon is Research Coordinator for the Institute of Social Science in the 21st Century at University College Cork.

Patrick Leahy is Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies and Director of Postgraduate Youth Studies at University College Cork.

Hilary Jenkinson is Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies at University College Cork.

Olive Byrne is Head of Access at University College Cork.

Author/Editor details at time of book publication.