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Neoliberal Rationalities in Swedish Vocational Higher Education
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Sustainable development
The content falls within the scope of Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

The increasing function of universities as institutions for mass education might affect democracy and the universities' contribution to society. Students as choice-agents need to be involved in these processes. This paper scrutinises how students’ practical considerations for choices in education and future occupations correspond to policy objectives of socially productive educational choices. These objectives currently follow neoliberal rationalities regarding how to divide the responsibilities between the state and its citizens. In this context, choice-agents have to learn to identify themselves as economic subjects able to cope with economic transformation. The aim of our research is to examine the correspondence between educational policy objectives and students’ educational choices in practice. The research questions posed are to what extent students’ choices and motives reflect a (neoliberal) instrumentality? Is there a resistance against such rationalities in students’ actual choice-strategies? This issue is empirically investigated via a semi-structured questionnaire (n=322) with students from 7 vocational Swedish Human Resource programs in higher education. The case of higher education programme was seen as relevant, since weak professional university programs tend to stimulate rationalities amongst students that ritualise the role of education in terms of its formal credentials. Vocational programs are also a significant growth sector in higher education, with large proportions of non-traditional students. What is unclear, however, is whether these forms of education reinforce a desired policy ambition with regard to instrumental choices in education. These are policy rationalities that are questioned in the paper from a choice agency approach. The results of the study point to patterns where students tend to resist instrumentality and integrate their decisions in education as reflexive and relative autonomous personal projects in relation to the recognized social powers of the labor market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Neoliberal rationalities, choice-agents, vocational higher education, Sociology
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7341Local ID: 2320/14657OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7341DiVA: diva2:888054
Conference
XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology. Facing an unequal world: Challenges for global sociology, 13-19 July, 2014, Yokohama, Japan
Note

Paper presented at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress of Sociology 13-19 July 2014, Yokohama, Japan

Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-03-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • sv-SE
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More languages
Output format
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