The standardization of higher education has yielded a variety of colleges and universities that are designed for a variety of students. While many public universities place their focuses on enhanced technical training and with providing students with degrees in business and accounting, liberal arts colleges are designed to provide a holistic education that produces critical thinkers. The mission statements of these schools use words like "community," "independent thinking," and "diversity" to convey the type of education they want to provide. This research project focuses on the "sale" of diversity at liberal arts colleges and the effects that it has on students and on campus climates. Max Weber's theories of bureaucracy and power are used, along with Bourdieu's theories of cultural capital and habitus, to establish the structural framework that leads to the commoditization of diversity. Critical Race Theory is used to explain how this structural approach ignores inherent inequality. Student interviews and surveys supplement this data in order to provide a snapshot of the perceptions of students at a Midwestern liberal arts college with regard to their campus' ability to adequately support diversity.


Gunn, Raymond


Sociology and Anthropology


Community-Based Research | Race and Ethnicity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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