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At a time when the shape of society in the UK is changing, this book makes clear what social mobility is and explores what enables upward mobility. Education is seen as a key element in creating opportunities and life chances central to developing a more equal society, but the diminishing level of opportunity available to people from lower socio-economic groups is increasingly causing concern. Mary Stuart examines the role of higher education in supporting social mobility from the viewpoint of students who went to university during the last half century. Based on nearly 150 life history accounts from graduates who were the first in their families to enter higher education, she shows how individuals moved from their families, often in poor communities, to achieve at university and go on to work in academia. Through a life history approach, the author analyses these graduates' perceptions of the changes to their lives, their social position and its effect on their identities. The stories reveal a pattern of movement and of flow, often locating the individuals between and within class, gender and ethnic identities, and linking theories of social mobility to the wider debates on an increasingly mobile world. The book tracks the impact of changes to policies for higher education from the 1950s to the present day through the lens of individual life stories and richly details the effects of political decisions on ordinary people's lives. Governments of all flavours have expressed interest in the question of social mobility. This book is important reading for policy makers, teachers, academics and university managers.