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Title: And then what? : a critical examination of the role of habitus in graduate employment
Author: Burke, Ciaran Thomas
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis is framed within the current context of mass education and subsequent graduate inflation in the U.K. Contrary to the official discourse and "common sense" understanding that higher education will foster social mobility, there are, in effect, too many graduates for "graduate jobs". Situated within Northern Ireland, through biographical narrative interviews, this research focuses on the life histories of27 (working class and middle class) Northern Irish graduates. Charting both their aspirations/expectations and subsequent trajectories from primary school to life post-graduation, this research questions the classed nature of attitudes and trajectories and examines the durability of such attitudes and trajectories in light of entry into higher education. Adopting Pierre Bourdieu's "conceptual toolbox", this thesis asks, "are strategies of graduate employment influenced by the habitus?" Understanding the habitus to contain both structurally durable and subjective elements, the habitus is open to change or alteration through its permeable character; however, the habitus-is likely to remain quite similar to its original form. This research produced five conceptual groups, three of which were currently employed in graduate positions: Strategic Middle Class, Strategic Working Class and Converted Working Class; and two groups who were not currently employed in graduate positions: Entitled Middle Class and Static Working Class. This research discusses how habitus and capital influenced each of their educational and graduate employment trajectories. While there are middle class and working class graduates in both graduate employment positions and non-graduate employment positions, this thesis concludes that there is a general/collective working class habitus negatively affecting the strategies these graduates undertake to find and secure graduate employment; meanwhile, there is a general/collective middle class habitus positively affecting the strategies middle class graduates undertake to find and secure graduate employment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.580096  DOI: Not available
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