Rules of Engagement beyond the gates: Negotiating and capitalising on student ‘experience’

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Buzzwords such as ‘inclusion’, ‘diversity’, ‘participation’ and ‘engagement’ reverberate in the academy in a period of widespread instability and of massive funding cuts, both within higher education (HE) and the broader UK public sector. Such terms at once suggest pathways to social, cultural and economic prosperity and seek to redefine (or remarket) the purpose, premise and remit of academic knowledge. This chapter involves an attempt to think through some of these buzzwords and their implications within and beyond the proverbial gates of the university by investigating how they resonate within everyday experiences of HE. I draw on empirical data from ESRC-funded, qualitative research into the (classed) experiences of undergraduate students in two closely situated higher education institutions (HEIs) in the north of England (represented henceforth as ‘Old University’ and ‘New University’). The data collected suggests that students are involved in complex sociocultural dialogues of value, and they struggle to deploy and accumulate capitals in their everyday HE experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Entrepreneurial University: Engaging Publics, Intersecting Impact.
EditorsYvette Taylor
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-44639-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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