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A Bourdieusian approach to understanding employability: becoming a 'fish in water'

Clark, M. and Zukas, Miriam (2013) A Bourdieusian approach to understanding employability: becoming a 'fish in water'. Journal of Vocational Education and Training 65 (2), pp. 208-219. ISSN 1363-6820.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2013.782887

Abstract

It is assumed in the current policy environment that higher education should lead to graduate employability, although understandings of employability are generally limited. In this paper we discuss issues relating to graduate employability with reference to a case study of an information technology (IT) student progressing to a graduate role in the IT industry. Our analysis uses Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’, habitus, field and capital, to discuss the importance to graduate employability of individual positions and dispositions, workplace culture and organisation, and the social contacts developed as part of undergraduate life. We argue that employability needs to be understood in relational terms. In particular, the value of skills and knowledge depends on the work and workplace to which a graduate progresses. Similarly, employable graduates need a ‘feel for the game’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 18 month embargo on full-text from date of publication
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): learning in life and work transitions, higher education, learning in the professions, workplace learning, vocational education and training
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > SSHP Administration
Depositing User: Professor Miriam Zukas
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2012 10:25
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 10:27
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5016

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