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Pathways to Success in Higher Education

Rethinking the Social Capital Theory in the Light of Institutional Diversity


Gabriella Pusztai

Students are influenced by their peer networks instead of the invisible hand of meritocracy. This statement by David Riesman is still true today. The volume analyses how students make use of social connections and the expanding opportunities offered by contemporary tertiary education. The results show that the resources provided by higher education institutions may be termed social capital, adding a new dimension to literature related to students and the institutional environment.
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Embeddedness in interpretive communities



In our previous research we have pointed out that religious student groups contribute to the formation of distinctively novel patterns of socialisation within the institution, which is a good reason to pay attention to this aspect of student diversity as well. An important question for the education researcher is whether religion-based communities support or hinder young people’s higher education careers. In this paper we examine in what ways membership in a religious student groups affects students’ academic and social integration as well as their academic success. After reviewing the most important correlations between religiosity and social status, we analyse the connection between belonging to a religious community and relational and cultural embeddedness in campus society. Finally, we examine the willingness to do extra academic work among members of religion-based communities, controlled for variables of family status.


Although educational studies on academic performance generally ignore the influence of religiosity, our research into the impact of religiosity on academic career over the past decade has convinced us that the phenomenon is worth taking into consideration. At first sight the subject may seem to bear little social relevance and raising it may even appear pointless as for a long time studies on the sociology of religion have tended to maintain that the higher the level of education, the lower the level of religious affiliation in European society. However, recent analyses have pointed out that in our region this correlation was due to socialist...

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