Ivy League Schools, Capital, and The Perpetuatuation of Class Inequalities
Just as the Ivy League schools are concentrated in a small area of the country, the social and cultural capital required to attend and teach at these universities is concentrated in a small area of the population. Bourdieu argues that social inequalities are due to the inequitable distribution of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital. Conflict theorists have long emphasized how the educational system perpetuates social inequalities, including the prestige hierarchy of colleges and universities.
In a recent article posted at Businessweek.com (see below), Bianco and Rupani argue that the Ivy League schools offer “a striking manifestation of the contemporary American tendency of the rich to get much richer.” The authors discuss the various ways in which the Ivy League schools have dominance over the public colleges and universities and highlight the inequities that the superiority cultivates. For more information concerning the explanations of the influence of social class on access to and choices surrounding higher education see Brook’s article posted below.
Accessing Higher Education: The Influence of Cultural and Social Capital on University Choice