Meritocracy through education and social mobility in post‐war Britain: a critical examination

Themelis, Spyros (2008) Meritocracy through education and social mobility in post‐war Britain: a critical examination. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29 (5). pp. 427-438. ISSN 1465-3346

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After the Second World War, education in advanced capitalist societies has been perceived as the main 'saviour' of the meritocratic ideal. In this paper I will investigate some of the implications of the lasting emphasis that has been placed upon education in Britain, in the pursuit of a more just and equal society. Initially, I will present two main strands of thought vis-agrave-vis meritocracy. I will then show how these different approaches have shaped the pertinent debate. The main line of reasoning will be that the 'meritocracy through education' discourse can potentially conceal inequalities and injustices in contemporary market-driven British society. This contention will be supported by evidence from social mobility research, which clearly indicates that the expansion of educational provision and the increase in educational qualifications of the past 60 years has done little to eliminate social class differences and associated privileges.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Education
ID Code:5063
Deposited On:21 Apr 2010 11:33
Last Modified:04 Mar 2015 14:34

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