‘Talent-spotting’ or ‘social magic’? Inequality, cultural sorting and constructions of the ideal graduate in elite professions

INGRAM, Nicola and ALLEN, Kim (2018). ‘Talent-spotting’ or ‘social magic’? Inequality, cultural sorting and constructions of the ideal graduate in elite professions. The Sociological Review.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118790949


Graduate outcomes – including rates of employment and earnings – are marked by persistent inequalities related to social class, as well as gender, ethnicity and institution. Despite national policy agendas related to social mobility and ‘fair access to the professions’, high-status occupations are disproportionately composed of those from socially privileged backgrounds, and evidence suggests that in recent decades many professions have become less socially representative. This article makes an original contribution to sociological studies of inequalities in graduate transitions and elite reproduction through a distinct focus on the ‘pre-hiring’ practices of graduate employers. It does this through a critical analysis of the graduate recruitment material of two popular graduate employers. It shows how, despite espousing commitments to diversity and inclusion, constructions of the ‘ideal’ graduate privilege individuals who can mobilise and embody certain valued capitals. Using Bourdieusian concepts of ‘social magic’ and ‘institutional habitus’, the article argues that more attention must be paid to how graduate employers’ practices constitute tacit processes of social exclusion and thus militate against the achievement of more equitable graduate outcomes and fair access to the ‘top jobs’

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1608 Sociology; Sociology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118790949
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 10:05
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 06:33
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/24127

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