Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Geography-mediated institutionalised cultural capital: Regional inequalities in graduate employment

Xu, Cora Lingling; Ma, Yin

Geography-mediated institutionalised cultural capital: Regional inequalities in graduate employment Thumbnail


Profile Image

Dr Cora Xu
Associate Professor

Yin Ma


This article investigates how regional inequalities shape the employment seeking experiences and behaviour of graduates by drawing on the case of Chinese Master’s graduates under COVID19. Based on interviews with graduates who chose to work as the ‘targeted selected graduates’ (TSG) of University A, located in the underdeveloped regions of North-western China, we show how their employment seeking was jointly impacted by three different but inter-related fields, the national economic, higher education, and graduate employment fields. These students were situated in a unique juncture across these fields; while their elite credentials from University A qualified them for these elite TSG programmes, they were disadvantaged by being excluded from TSG recruitments at economically developed regions. Importantly, we highlight that institutionalised cultural capital in the form of academic credentials from elite HEIs does not work in a ‘straightforward’ manner, but it has to be considered in conjunction with the geo-economic locations of their HEIs. We, therefore, propose the notion of ‘geography-mediated institutionalised cultural capital’ to capture this significant but under-theorised aspect of the graduate employment scene. This conceptual innovation enlightens the analysis of regional differences in different countries by considering how official or unofficial regional authorities’ interventions shape graduate employment.


Xu, C. L., & Ma, Y. (2023). Geography-mediated institutionalised cultural capital: Regional inequalities in graduate employment. Journal of Education and Work, 36(1), 22-36.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 20, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 5, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Dec 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 23, 2023
Journal Journal of Education and Work
Print ISSN 1363-9080
Electronic ISSN 1469-9435
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 1
Pages 22-36


Published Journal Article (647 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations