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Exploring a potential correspondence between the structural conditiions of universities and stratified graduate work

Sims, Stuart 2012. Exploring a potential correspondence between the structural conditiions of universities and stratified graduate work. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis examines the nature of the relationship between the educational environment of UK universities and the graduate labour market through the lens of correspondence theory. This theory was developed by Bowles and Gintis (1976), who asserted that there is a structurally reproductive relationship between the conditions of education and labour. One of the key aims of this research is to test the usefulness of this theory to contemporary UK higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 students and key staff members in the Law faculties of three different status universities; Elite, Old and New. The interviews covered a number of key topics including class sizes, relationships between students and staff, career preparation and routines of working. Documents outlining the nature of the courses (e.g. prospectuses) were also collected and analysed. These data revealed that at Elite University, subject specific knowledge is the primary purpose of learning and the students encounter an intense working environment but are afforded high levels of autonomy. At New University, the educational experience for students is much more structured, with much less pressure on students to perform and a central focus upon employability. Old University occupies a position between these two universities, offering a form of education that encourages some autonomy within a structured teaching environment and values both employability teaching and subject specific knowledge. The significant differences between the teaching and conditions at these three universities reflect characteristics associated with different levels of graduate work thus indicating the continued analytical value of the correspondence theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/45261

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