Brown suits need not apply: The intersection of race, gender, and class in institutional network building

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Abstract

Using ethnographic data, this study investigates network building and the transition from school to work in a career center at a nonprestigious university. Now that disadvantaged students have increased their participation in higher education, it is important to investigate the role of the university in these students' transition from school to work. I found competing forces of stratification at work in the college career center and while the center mitigated inequality for some, it reproduced inequality for others. The Career Center staff faced pressures to recruit corporations to build job networks, but disinterest from the hiring organizations. Through their interactions with recruiters, the staff saw that African Americans and Latinos were not the standard for the labor market. Although network building ruled the overarching organizational goals, intersections of race, gender, and nationality became the defining logic of the hiring process. Staff members turned away both qualified and unqualified African-American and Latino men and women, while increasing access for white women and international male students, regardless of their qualifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-424
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Forum
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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