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The social construction of labour markets by students in higher education

Stroud, Dean 2002. The social construction of labour markets by students in higher education. PhD Thesis, University of Wales.

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Abstract

This study is concerned with higher education students’ social construction of the labour market. It is an exploration of how university students socially construct the labour market and their relationships to it, in the context of the radical and wider restructuring of British higher education. It is a qualitative study focusing on the students of ‘St. David’s’ university in Wales. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a number of students of various disciplines to elicit knowledge of how relationships with the labour market are socially constructed. The relationship students socially construct with the labour market is understood in terms of the social construction of a labour market identity. The place of higher education in Britain in the latter part of the twentieth century has altered radically, and the relationship the state has with higher education has been reformulated. An unprecedented expansion of student numbers, predicated on the assumption that Britain needs a more highly skilled labour-force to fulfil the needs of a competitive knowledge based economy, funded in part by student financial contributions, has necessitated an almost wholesale restructuring of higher education’s organisation. Moreover, such transformations, and the discourse upon which they have been premised, have reformulated the relationship university students have with their education and the labour market opportunities that might derive from participation. This thesis seeks to explore students’ perceptions of labour market ‘reality’ and ‘graduate employment’, in light of such transformations. More significantly, drawing primarily on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of habitus - and also on Ulrich Beck’s meta theories of individualisation and risk and Rees et al’s theories of life-time learning - it is concerned with examining ‘differences’ in the students’ evaluation and knowledge of (transformed graduate) labour market opportunity and choice, as shaped by the interpolation of social and economic relations and structures, i.e. the social construction of a labour market identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Cardiff University
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 18 January 2020
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 07:41
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/133684

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