The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Angus Mcvittie

Postgraduate Research Student


I am a Sociology PhD student with research interests in; Education, Social Class, Emotion, and Bourdieusian theory.

My PhD is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), and supervised by  Professor Robert Hollands and Dr Adél Pásztor

Prior to beginning my PhD, I attained a BA in Sociology, and MA in Sociology and Social Research, both also from Newcastle University. At Undergraduate level I was awarded the Peter Selman Prize with my Undergraduate dissertation, “Teaching, an Emotional Labour”, also receiving the award for Best Sociology Dissertation. Before University study I worked as an Apprentice Teaching Assistant in a village primary school, where I was nominated for a National Apprenticeship Award.


‘Feeling Your Future?’ Class Habitus and Emotional Capital in Valuing Undergraduate Degrees and Apprenticeships

My PhD project, seeks to explore Apprenticeships and Undergraduate degrees from the perspective of young people from working class backgrounds.

In an environment of high tuition fees, an oversaturated graduate market, and an increased government push to reinvigorate vocational education, this project aims to understand young working class people’s perceptions of Apprenticeships and Undergraduate degrees. Research will consist of semi-structured interviews with a sample of Apprentices, and Undergraduate students from UK universities established post and pre 1992, across three subject areas. The project utilises an “imagined futures perspective”, operationalising Bourdieusian concepts through a focus on how young people perceive their futures (Ball et al. 1999, see also careership in Hodkinson and Sparkes 1999). It is my hope that application of this approach will facilitate the collection of relevant data, while at the same time allowing potential for an interrogation of Bourdieusian thinking, attempting to both explore and overcome limitations of Bourdieu’s work; which has been justly critiqued with charges of hyper-determinism, materialism and intellectual elitism. Young people participating in the study will be asked to consider what lead them to a particular educational trajectory and what future they feel this trajectory provides. The project aims to explore how young people navigate complex educational decisions, attempting to illuminating taken for granted understandings of Apprenticeships and Undergraduate degrees, as well as potential inequalities in access to education.

Ball, S. Macrae, S. Maguire, M. (1999). “Young lives, diverse choices and imagined futures in an education and training market”, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 3, 3: 195-224.

Hodkinson, P. Sparkes, A. (1999) ‘Careership: A Sociological Theory of Career Decision Making’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 18, 1: 29–44.


Other Experience

During my Undergraduate Degree, I gained experience as a student-researcher assisting Dr Anselma Gallinat and Dr Adél Pásztor with work on a project: “Exploring feedback: a student-participatory research project into what students actually do with their feedback” (2014-5).





Teaching Assistant


SOC3096: Educational Inequalities in a Global Age

SOC3094: Class and Everyday Life


Newcastle University Partners Academic Summer School: Sociology

HSS8001: Thinking about Research