The capability to imagine educational futures: the chasm between precarious education and ‘widening university participation’

Year: 2013

Author: Harwood, Valerie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Access and participation to university education is a key equity issue, with increased effort to widen the participation of students from low socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds a key agenda in many countries worldwide. This paper focuses on disadvantaged young people who have precarious relationships with education: a group likely to be overlooked in programs aimed at ‘widening university participation’. Nussbaum’s central capability of ‘sense, imagination and thought’ is adapted to outline the importance of the capability to imagine the possibility of a university education. The paper draws on qualitative research investigating disadvantage and educational futures with young people who have precarious relationships to education.