The Thin Body, the Able Body and the Student of Color Athlete: Physical Capital in University Viewbooks

Grace Lavin, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

University and college brochures and pamphlets provide high school students with the first images and insights into a prospective college. The images of the campus and the students portrayed within them help college-bound students decide whether the institution is a fit and if they can picture themselves on campus. In order to meet the current demand for diversity representation, institutions have capitalized on campus diversity as a marketing strategy to pull in both white students and students of color to their institutions. Previous literature has shown that there exists an overrepresentation of Black and Asian students, but studies have yet to examine what body types are emphasized and excluded in visual representation. This study includes a Bourdieusian qualitative content analysis of college viewbooks from tier-one universities in Texas and California. I determined that there exist preferences along dimensions of ability, class, weight, and sports. This study seeks to contribute to the current literature on campus diversity representation by examining how physical capital, social class distinctions, and athleticism are core ideologies of institutions of higher education.^

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Lavin, Grace, "The Thin Body, the Able Body and the Student of Color Athlete: Physical Capital in University Viewbooks" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10816408.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10816408

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