Social composition of students at Universidad de Chile and the merit ideology in the (re)production of inequality (Abstract)

This article presents the main findings and reflections generated from a quantitative research on the social composition of students at Universidad de Chile and the speeches with which students explain their access to that institution. In this regard, we develop two main ideas. On one hand, Universidad de Chile has a highly homogeneous enrollment regarding the socioeconomic conditions of the students, making it possible to build a “student type” whose characteristics are primarily for the privileged possession of cultural and economic capital origin. On the other hand, we observed that, in a social level, students tend to explain educational attainment based on a speech focused on the effort and talent of individuals, what we associate with an ideology of meritocracy. While referring to their own educational attainment, students tend to explain it with their socioeconomic characteristics, which is slightly more pronounced among students who have greater cultural and economic capital of origin.

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