This is the first handbook to cover the sociological approaches to higher education. It is timely because of global expansions of mass higher educational systems, especially as these systems come under scrutiny by a variety of stakeholders. Questions are being raised about the value of traditional pedagogies along with calls for efficiency, accountability and cost-reduction, but above all job training. Within this neoliberal context, each chapter examines different sociological aspects of, and debates about, educational institutions as status-conferring organizations, with myriad positional characteristics, experiences, and outcomes. Many current debates concern the legitimacy of the statuses conferred, including the continuing debate regarding the role of universities in legitimating social class reproduction as well as more recent concerns about standards in mass systems. This handbook puts these issues and debates in focus in ways that will be of interest to a variety of stakeholders, within academia as well as in policy circles.
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