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Elizabeth Houghton

Research student

Elizabeth Houghton

Bowland North

Lancaster University

Bailrigg

Lancaster LA1 4YN

United Kingdom

Location:

Current Research

I am a second year, ESRC funded PhD student here at Lancaster. My doctoral 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'm exploring how university students in England engage with their institutions and courses in the context of a marketised HE field in which they are told they have more ‘choice’ (The 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, in an increasingly precarious world.

More specifically, my research is exploring:

  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’;

My research is focused on 'archetypal' young, full-time, home undergraduate students (the sort you see in prospectuses), 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.