Re/producing the global middle class: International Baccalaureate alumni at ‘world-class’ universities in Hong Kong

Ewan Wright, Moosung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigated educational pathways into a Global Middle Class characterised by professional or managerial careers and cosmopolitan sensibilities. The focus was International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) alumni with upper-middle-class backgrounds at ‘world-class’ universities in Hong Kong. The first objective was to investigate if and how the education of IBDP alumni at Hong Kong universities shapes self-perceptions of cosmopolitan sensibilities, university experiences, and economic futures. The second objective was to investigate how the IBDP and Hong Kong universities offer an educational pathway for the existing Global Middle Class to reproduce their social position and for local families to enter the Global Middle Class. Interview findings illuminated how cosmopolitan sensibilities meant that the students may be well-positioned for careers and lifestyles of the Global Middle Class. Nevertheless, there were paradoxes of cosmopolitan sensibilities as the students perceived a lack of belonging to their universities and a disconnection with the local society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-696
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept 3

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate the valuable comments and suggestions from the referees. We are also grateful to the International Baccalaureate Organization for providing financial support for this research project. The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


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