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ERIC Number: EJ777687
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 19
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-1356-2517
Diversity, Equality and Higher Education: A Critical Reflection on the Ab/uses of Equity Discourse within Widening Participation
Archer, Louise
Teaching in Higher Education, v12 n5-6 p635-653 Oct 2007
This paper discusses how the rhetoric of "diversity" is mobilised within New Labour HE policy discourse around widening participation (WP). The paper argues that these constructions of diversity derive an important element of their symbolic power from an association with notions of "equality"--and yet the radical/egalitarian potential of WP policy and practice is subverted and compromised by New Labour's pursuit of neoliberalism--to the extent that WP is rendered more a tool for social control than social justice. The paper is organised in two main parts: the first considers New Labour's promotion of "institutional diversity"--and how this is tied to "choice". The second part discusses how "student diversity" is being discursively mobilised within the context of "equality" and "social inclusion". It is argued that this common-sense linkage (between "equality" and "diversity") is conceptually untenable within New Labour policy and practice due to a privileging of the economic, the pursuit of institutional diversity, and the use of the market within higher education. It is argued that a diversity of students in HE cannot be taken as an indicator of greater "equality" within the system, and attention is drawn to the ways in which "diversity" may operate as a moral discourse that silences other competing (e.g., critical) accounts of WP. (Contains 15 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom