Graduate Citizens? Issues of Citizenship and Higher Education

By John Ahier; John Beck et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Citizenship themes in students' lives

4.1

Introduction

The purpose of our interviews with students was not to 'test' them on their political awareness or elicit their social and political philosophy. Nor did we want to ask them whether they felt themselves to be citizens in any sense. Instead we were interested in the extent to which the personal accounts of their past, present and future lives implied certain notions of society and nation. We wanted to detect any sense of national membership they might have by examining the ways they incorporated into stories of themselves, their families and their higher education, assumptions about the politics and economics of nationhood. For example, rather than asking them a whole set of direct questions about how they saw the future of state provision of health or pensions, we looked mainly at their plans after they left university and how they saw themselves managing the life course.

We report some of their responses under five themes which have significance for some of the issues raised in the preceding chapters. First, there is the question of the extent to which they see themselves as using their qualifications to detach themselves from the UK and its graduate labour market. In their accounts, to what extent did they see themselves as being 'set free' by their qualifications in a globalised world? Second, where did they see the nation in their lives and the lives of others and what sense of social rights and obligations did they have in relation to higher education? Linked to this was the third theme which questioned the extent to which they saw themselves as the private customers of higher education. Fourth, how did they see other citizens, and had their higher education constructed for them a sense of

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Graduate Citizens? Issues of Citizenship and Higher Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • List of Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Citizenship in Britain 7
  • Chapter 2 - Prospects for Social National Citizenship in the United Kingdom 35
  • Chapter 3 - Citizenship and the Restructuring of Higher Education 62
  • Chapter 4 - Citizenship Themes in Students' Lives 99
  • Chapter 5 - Citizenship, Mutuality and Civil Society 132
  • Chapter 6 - Conclusion 157
  • Appendix 172
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 186
  • Index 197
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