From ‘Academic Concern’ to Work Readiness: Student Mobility, Employability and the Devaluation of Academic Capital on the Year Abroad

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Abstract

This article suggests that a process of de-academisation is discernible in the way the Erasmus year abroad is promoted, organised, supervised and evaluated. The article argues that rather than being a product of students’ consumerist rationalities, this process is produced within the conditions of the managerialised and under-resourced university. This process is underpinned by institutional discourses and practices that devalue academic capital, in line with the employability agenda and the corporate critique of higher education as outdated and too abstract for the real world. Based on a qualitative study conducted in Ireland, the article uses a Bourdieusian lens to examine the de-academisation of study abroad and the field–habitus clash experienced by participants. Finally, the article draws attention to the implications of this neutralisation of academic capital in a context where academic credentials are increasingly devalued in the labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-206
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume40
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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