Book by Will Barratt
Review by Kyle Bures
Student Support Services
Neosho County Community College
Understanding an issue such as class can be a complex undertaking. It is a topic that is commonly overlooked; elements of which can be found woven into the fabric of everyday situations and interactions. Yet, in Social Class on Campus: Theories and Manifestations, author Will Barratt successfully breaks class down in a way that allows the reader to observe it through a variety of lenses (education, capital, prestige, etc.) and helps us to understand it in terms beyond just level of income. This is accomplished through the development of student profiles, which work to personify class rather than generalize it. Although these student profiles are fictional and created to illustrate various components of class, actual student autobiographies are also provided at the conclusion of the book to allow for an even deeper understanding of class.
Barratt’s discussion of class builds on a foundation laid in earlier chapters, yet the information is also organized in a way that allows the reader to single out specific chapters. Questions designed for discussion and reflection are also placed at the close of each chapter. These features make it useful as both a college text and as a challenge to professionals to think more critically. This design gives it a multi-functionality that many texts do not have.
This book can also be applied directly to the field of academic advising, helping professionals to (1) reflect on and identify their own class situations, (2) determine how their class identity fits into the big picture, and (3) gain a better understanding of where their students are coming from and why they arrived on their respective campuses. Social Class on Campus: Theories and Manifestations takes us on a journey toward introspection and teaches us how to better recognize the many shapes and forms that class can take on campus. In doing so, campus professionals can become more aware of how class barriers may be effecting our student population, and arm us with the ability to better affect change.
Social class on campus: Theories and manifestations. (2011). Book by Will Barratt. Review by Kyle Bures. Sterling, CA: Stylus Publishing, 239 pp., $24.95, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-57922-572-8