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Success and Luck - Cosmopolitanism and Private Education

Sociological discussion programme, presented by Laurie Taylor. Success and luck and the myth of meritocracy. Also, do privately educated young women have a cosmopolitan world view?

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. Laurie Taylor talks to Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management, about the role luck has to play in life's successes, or failures. Frank argues that chance is much more significant than people give it credit for. Lynsey Hanley, writer and Visiting Fellow at the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, joins the discussion. Also, Claire Maxwell, Reader of Sociology of Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, talks about her co-authored paper looking at the attitudes of privately-educated young women towards the idea of cosmopolitanism. Did they feel like global citizens, or were their aspirations confined to the local and the national?

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

Available now

28 minutes


Claire Maxwell at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London

Professor Robert Frank at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University

Lynsey Hanley, author, journalist and academic at Liverpool John Moores University 


Elite Education: International Perspectives, edited by Claire Maxwell, Peter Aggleton (Routledge, 2016)

Robert H. Frank, Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, (Princeton University Press, 2016)

Creating Cosmopolitan Subjects: The Role of Families and Private Schools in England, by Claire Maxwell and Peter Aggleton.  Published in the journal Sociology, 2016. Volume 50

Lynsey Hanley, Respectable: The Experience of Class, (Allen Lane, 2016)


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