Drawing on recent ethnographic research with 'non-traditional' humanities and social science students at a 'new' university in the North West of England, this paper explores their contradictory experiences of alienation and engagement, and their attitudes to institutional 'Widening
Participation' initiatives. It argues that these students' institutional survival depends on negotiating the conflicting expectations of their academic relationships and their day-to-day social responsibilities beyond the university. What might these findings mean for anthropology's own
pedagogic strategies? The paper ends by suggesting that a subject that asks its students fundamentally to question their established senses of self and 'home' may pose a further challenge for students for whom strained personal and domestic relationships, ambivalence and self-doubt are dominant
motifs of their whole university experience.
Anthropology in Action is a peer-reviewed journal publishing key articles, commentaries, research reports, and book reviews that deal with the use of anthropology in all areas of policy and practice. Recent themes have included identity and movement, anthropology in Denmark, the effects of ethics, and anthropology and activism. Subjects covered by the journal include organizations, HIV/AIDS research, new reproductive technologies, the rights of indigenous peoples, community care and social policy, health, medicine and suffering, education and government policy, museums, place and space, management, ethnicity and violence, and overseas development.