Providing an extraordinary picture of the inner workings of elite universities, Elite Universities and the Making of Privilege draws on current debates on education and inequality and considers the relevance of universities’ global brand identities.

Using the work of Bourdieu and critical race theory to explore how identity, experience and family background affects how people navigate the social space of the university, this book is underpinned with empirical research that considers different social, economic and educational contexts. Using interview accounts of graduate students, this book highlights ambiguities in how eliteness works as both a recognisable marker of institutional status and a marker that is rarely quantified or defined.

Combining intellectually rigorous, accessible and controversial chapters, Elite Universities and the Making of Privilege is crucial reading for anyone looking to understand how race and class affect those navigating elite universities.

About the Authors



1. Introduction 

2. The Centrality of Elite Universities Within the Global Economy of Eliteness 

3. Pathways to Elite Universities: Elite Schools, Wealth and Status 

4. Degrees of Entitlement: Who Belongs and Who Does Not?

5. The Value of an Elite Degree

6. Race, Privilege and Inequality

7. Global Brands and the Field of Elite Universities

8. White Capital and the Maintenance of White Supremacy

9. Conclusions: Recognising the Unequal Field of Elite Universities