‘Student as Producer’ an idealised response to the marketization of Higher Education: A critique based on accounts of ‘student identity and practice’

Introduction

 Presentation can be downloaded here. This paper attempts to generate academic and thus student reflection about a major contemporary theme in the education literature: that of student as Producer. Such a notion readily aligns itself with the discourse of ‘enhancing student engagement’ (Government White Paper 2011) a core feature and occupation of HE institutions operating within the framework of student fees. It is borne out of reflections on my own and other colleagues’ efforts to embed SAP within the curriculum. Some of these were part of the curriculum, others extra curricula, where we have at times consciously, at other times inadvertently, created a learning context where aspects of SAP have taken place. The paper offers a brief review of literature in this area drawing on existing theories of identity (Cherrier 2006) and Praxis (Warde 2005) to help unpack some of the pertinent challenges in generating and embedding ‘student as Producer’ in meaningful ways to both tutors and students. It also introduce some of the insights generated from phenomenological research carried out amongst students to help understand their approaches to, but that also speak directly to a contestation of SAP.I argue that students entering universities as ‘established and experienced consumers’ serves to narrow rather than broaden students’ learning experiences and therefore identity. Such students seek certainty and expended effort to avoid the ambiguity caused by challenging choices or the discomfort of transformational learning. The paper finishes by combining reflections on practice, conceptual problematizing of SAP and insights from primary research to offer a purposeful disruptive view of us as ‘practitioners of pedagogy’ Thus in this paper I offer a brief review of literature on Student as Producer in order to problematize the notion. I draw on theories of identity (Cherrier 2006) and Praxis (Warde 2005) to help unpack some of the pertinent challenges in generating and embedding ‘student as Producer’ in meaningful ways to both tutors and students. I also introduce some of the insights generated from phenomenological research carried out amongst students to help understand their approaches to scholarship (see Molesworth et al 2009, 2011) but that also speak directly to a contestation of SAP. The paper finishes by combining reflections on practice, conceptual problematizing of SAP and insights from primary research to offer a purposeful disruptive view of us as ‘practitioners of pedagogy’.

BRIGHTON

OK, thanks Lizzie …. So what I’d now like to do is offer an articulation of various ‘social and institutional mechanisms’ that help establish ‘a discursive norm’ and a ‘particular worldview’….of the university and more specifically the contemporary student.

1. University in a neoliberal setting

Under the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism, the ‘good’ student comes to be viewed as economically self-interested, information-processing, rationally-optimising sovereign chooser of a service provider – Which university shall I take my business too? and, once settled, Which courses shall I grace my presence with?

Chapter 18. Conclusion: Arguments, responsibility and what is to be done about marketisation

Book-Cover-marketizationRichard Scullion, Mike Molesworth and Lizzie Nixon

We could, with justification, conclude this edited collection by pulling the various themes together to illustrate the complexity of the investigation of market-orientation in higher education (HE). We could then simply point out the many contradictions apparent when reading the contributions and then leave them to ‘hang in the air’ by drawing the attention of the reader to the inevitable tensions that arise when asking the types of questions this book does. However we want to try to move beyond a concluding statement that merely re-states that the Higher Education sector – with its multitude of stakeholders and missions – is bound to have conflicting expectations placed on it, including in terms of how students should be perceived.

Title

PROMOTIONAL CULTURES & COMMUNICATION CENTRE
PROMOTIONAL CULTURES & COMMUNICATION CENTRE
Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University