Student voice: new forms of power and governance in higher education in England (2003-2013)

Freeman, Rebecca Mary (2014). Student voice: new forms of power and governance in higher education in England (2003-2013). University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The phenomenon of student voice, namely the institutionalisation of students’ contributions to the evaluation of higher education, is embedded into the daily business of universities. Activities relating to student voice such as national surveys, representation, complaints and protest are subject to considerable emotional, material, and financial investment by managers, academics and students. These developments have had profound effects on the everyday practices and discourses of academics and students alike, yet researchers have not yet explored their implications for the identities and subjectivities of those who participate. Drawing on two case studies undertaken at English universities (a pre and post-92), the thesis problematises the narratives associated with student voice. The research found that student voice means different things to different people and is underpinned by a range of, at times competing imperatives. These can be empowering, but they shape, in subtle but significant ways, the manner in which managers, academics and students come to regard themselves, each other and the fundamental nature and purpose of higher education. The thesis suggests that by acknowledging power, and the complex identities that student voice shapes, activities could become more productive and empowering. This has practical and educational implications for stakeholders in the university sector.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
L Education > LA History of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education


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