Dr Achala Gupta is a lecturer in Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton. Achala is a member of the editorial board of the British Sociological Association's flagship journal, Sociology.
Achala is a sociologist of education and has published research articles on social class and educational privilege, heterogeneity of middle-class advantage, teacher-entrepreneurialism, as well as timescape, social legitimacy, the shadowing process of, and mothers' subscription to, private tutoring in India. Achala has also contributed to the higher education literature by exploring how students are socially constructed in Denmark, England, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Spain.
Centre for Research in Inclusion
Leadership, effective education and policy
The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development
At the University of Southampton:
- Lead, Southampton Education School Research Seminar Series (January 2023 - present)
- Ethics Reviewer for research conducted by students and staff in the Faculty of Social Sciences (July 2021-present)
- Academic Integrity Officer (BSc, PGCE primary and secondary, MSc Army programmes) for the Southampton Education School (July 2021-August 2022)
- UK’s Higher Education Academy
- British Educational Research Association
- UKRI Early-career Forum
- Council for European Studies
- Comparative and International Education Society
- European Sociological Association
- British Sociological Association
- Sociology of education
- Shadow education
- Educational inequality
- Social mobility
- Comparative research
Achala’s research focuses on investigating educational issues sociologically. Her current interests include education delivery systems (formal and supplementary) and schooling practices in Asia, and students’ aspirations and transition into higher education in Europe.
Key publications on schooling, parenting and shadow education:
- Gupta, A. (2023). Revisiting educational advantage and social class: A Bourdieusian analysis of middle-class parents’ investment in private schooling and shadow education. British Journal of Sociology of Education. DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2022.2126824. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2022). Middle-class mothers’ participation in tutoring for spoken English: A case of unlocking middle-class identity and privilege in contemporary India. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2022.2131738. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2022). A ‘Shadow education’ timescape: An empirical investigation of the temporal arrangement of private tutoring vis-à-vis formal schooling in India. British Journal of Educational Studies. DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2021.2024137. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2022). Social legitimacy of private tutoring: an investigation of institutional and affective educational practices in India. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. 43(4), 571-584. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2021) Exposing the ‘shadow’: An empirical scrutiny of the ‘shadowing process’ of private tutoring in India, Educational Review. DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2021.1931038. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2021). Teacher-entrepreneurialism: A case of teacher identity formation in neoliberalizing education space in contemporary India. Critical Studies in Education, 62(4), 422-438. [Link]
- Gupta, A. (2020). Heterogeneous middle-class and disparate educational advantage: parental investment in their children’s schooling in Dehradun, India, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 41(1), 48-63. [Link]
Current PhD Students
Dr Achala Gupta teaches various modules across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Southampton Education School:
MSc Education (Army)
(2021 and 2022 cohorts)
Achala leads the MSc Education Module 'The Social Context of Education and Lifelong Learning' (2022-23-present).
She also supervises and examines BSc, MSc and MSc Army dissertations.
External roles and responsibilities
Dr Achala Gupta is a lecturer in Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.
Before joining the University of Southampton, Achala worked as a Research Fellow (at UCL Institute of Education and the University of Surrey) on an ERC-funded Eurostudents project (led by Professor Rachel Brooks). This comparative study aimed to investigate the various ways in which students are made sense of within the European higher education sector.
Before joining the Eurostudents project team, Achala was based at the Asia Research Institute in the National University of Singapore as a Research Associate on another comparative project that focused on Global Asian Universities and International Students’ Mobilities (in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China).
Achala’s doctoral research was an institutional ethnography that examined practices in the formal education system from the vantage point of private tutoring (‘shadow education’) in contemporary India (see, Gupta, 2019; 2020; 2021 for discussions on this topic).
- Shortlisted for the British Journal of Sociology of Education Best Early Career Article (2020)