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Elizabeth Houghton

Research student

Elizabeth Houghton

Bowland North

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YN

United Kingdom


Current Research

Mt research aims to address a gap in the literature on ‘marketised’ higher education (HE) by examining students’ experiences of universities operating under neoliberal policies. I aim to explore how university students in England engage with their institutions and courses in the context of a marketised HE system in which they are told they have more ‘choice’ (Browne Review, 2010) but a political and social environment which frames them as being individually responsible for the consequences of that choice and their futures. More specifically, the research will explore:

  1. how contemporary students approach choosing a university and course and how this  choice is influenced by economic rationales, concerns about (student) debt and employability;
  2. how the university as a ‘human technology’ attempts to ‘engineer’ students into enterprise minded subjects through various technologies including league tables, ‘learning objectives’, and ‘transferable skills’;

The focus of the research will be on archetypal young, full-time, home undergraduate students as this group not only provides a window onto the mentalities of young people in England today, but will also take these mentalities forward and use them to shape tomorrow.