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Title: Talking about careers : personal and professional constructions of career by careers advisers
Author: Barham, Lyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 8891
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This study arose from an 'intellectual puzzle' (Mason, 2003) that careers advisers, when faced with personal career dilemmas, found little apparent attraction in seeking career guidance for themselves. This puzzle resonated with the concern, often mentioned in the literatures on career and career guidance, that practitioners continue to espouse outdated, positivist methods of working with their clients. The research set out to explore how careers advisers think about 'career' in their personal and their professional lives. The study was conducted from a social constructionist metaperspective, which took worldviews and ways of knowing to be individually shaped by relationships and social experience. Data collection was through a storied approach to explore participants' retrospective accounts of their own careers to date, putting considerable effort into hearing stories rather than engaging in professional discourse. A second stage of each interview sought accounts of their ways of working with specific, recent clients. Analysis focused on attending to unique personal voices, and particularly the possibility that people may construe a single idea in different ways in different arenas of their life, exploring ideas of 'conceptual dispersion' (Linder and Marshall, 2003), contrapuntal voices (Gilligan et aI., 2003) and 'I-positions' (Hermans et aI., 1992). Differences emerged in the implicit concepts of career underlying personal career stories, both amongst the sample group of careers advisers, and intrapersonally when comparing personal career stories with discussions of their work with clients. Careership theory proved a powerful explanatory tool, but has not given adequate attention to the subjective nature of turning points alongside their visible manifestations in changes of status or occupation. The findings include identification of aspects of careers advisers' ways of working , which are inadequately recognised and celebrated. They also include an emergent understanding, framed within Careership theory and Bourdieu's work, of how careers advisers could better conceptualise their ways of relating with clients. The Listening Guide, a central tool in analysis of the data, was indentified as having potential in this conceptual development. Preparatory work for the study discovered that a remarkable lack of attention has been paid to the careers of careers advisers themselves. The study makes a contribution to this neglected field, as well as offering a firmly qualitative contribution to a research field noted by Stead et al. (20 11) to be strongly biased towards work in quantitative and positivist approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: career ; career guidance ; careers adviser