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ERIC Number: EJ1090999
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
The Affective Imaginary: Students as Affective Consumers of Risk
Lolich, Luciana; Lynch, Kathleen
Higher Education Research and Development, v35 n1 p17-30 2016
This paper examines the purpose of higher education (HE) for students in Ireland in the context of the dominant narrative of the knowledge-based economy (KBE). It argues that the KBE is one of the most recent of economic imaginaries devised by governments to manage the population [Hay, S., & Kaptizke, C. (2009). "Smart" state for a knowledge economy: Reconstituting creativity through student subjectivity. "British Journal of Sociology of Education," 30(2), 151-164; Jessop, B. (2008). A cultural political economy of competitiveness and its implications for higher education. In B. Jessop, N. Fairdough, & R. Wodak (Eds.), "Education and the knowledge-based economy in Europe" (pp. 14-39). Rotterdam: Sense; Loxley, A., Seery, A., & Walsh, J. (Eds.) (2014). "Higher education in Ireland: Practices, policies and possibilities." Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Rose, N. (1999). "Governing the soul; the shaping of the private self" (2nd ed.). London: Free Association Books]: HE institutions have been assigned a key role in promoting economic growth in the competitive space of the global economy. HE is also represented as an insurance against the risk of under-employment or unemployment from a student perspective. The paper examines to what extent students "buy" into this official imaginary and how it affects their decision to go to college and select a particular course. The research methodology involved a large-scale survey of three major HE institutions in Ireland. Questionnaires were completed by 4265 students. The results challenged the prevailing assumption that students' decisions to go to college or select a particular course are driven solely by economic goals. The findings indicate that while the majority of students attributed a great deal of importance to market (employment) considerations, their employment imaginary was balanced against an affective imaginary, showing high levels of concern about care relations at an individual level. Risk is not only framed in terms of securing an economic future but also securing a relational future, the risks and opportunities for care and love relationships that particular careers or jobs entail are part of students' imaginary. HE students, especially female students, can be conceptualised as affective consumers of risk, offering a counter-narrative to the market ideology.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A