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Title: The discourse of careers services : a corpus-based critical discourse analysis of UK university websites
Author: Fotiadou, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 5187
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the discourse of careers services in UK university websites. The notion of employability has been presented and promoted by powerful groups, such as governments, organisations, the media, employers, and higher education institutions, as the remedy to the social problem of unemployment. Careers services in UK universities were given the role of ‘expert’ professionals who are there to support and guide students towards developing their employability and skills. This study examined the ideas and messages reproduced and promoted by the careers services, which could affect the students’ understanding of the ‘job market’ and their role in it. The chosen methodology, that is corpus-based critical discourse analysis, combined qualitative and quantitative methods and tools for the analysis of 2.6 million words deriving from 58 UK universities’ websites, and more specifically the careers services sections. In general, this thesis highlights some of the problematic, common-sense ideas that are being promoted by these services and encourages the denaturalisation of the careers services’ discourse. The main argument is that the language used by the careers services in UK universities reproduces and promotes neoliberal ideology. The analysis shows that higher education students are encouraged to develop ‘job-hunting techniques’ and are presented as responsible for their own ‘survival’ in a ‘fiercely competitive job market’. The notion of employability is promoted as the main solution to this highly problematic ‘reality’. The services advertise that they ‘know’ what employers are looking for from prospective employees and claim that they can ‘help’ students with their job search. The close analysis of linguistic data reveals that these services act as the ‘enablers’ of the students’ self-beneficiary action. In addition, besides their role as careers counsellors, the services’ use of language demonstrates their involvement in the therapeutic field. Finally, the language used by post-1992 and Russell Group universities was found to be quite similar. There are, however, some differences that could be viewed as signs of competition between these two university ‘groups’ and a preference of the job market towards a particular ‘group’ of graduates from elite institutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Educational Research