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The depersonalised consumer subjectivity and its effect on fostering meaningful relationships between undergraduates and academics in higher education

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>5/05/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Critical Studies in Education
Number of pages17
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Both the consumer subjectivity and partnership models are receiving increasing attention within higher education institutions. In this article, I explore the impersonality that characterises the social role of the consumer and its impact on the formation and implementation of meaningful relationships between undergraduates and academics. I draw from Fairclough's three-dimensional model of critical discourse analysis to explore 32 interviews and 12 policy documents gathered from two post-1992 universities in England. Academics and undergraduates in this study recognised the conflict that arises between the consumer subjectivity and the partner subjectivity; this article explores how this conflict is created through the behaviours that constitute socially structured roles. I will discuss the divergence between the institutional positioning of undergraduates and the impact this positioning has on the relationships between undergraduates and academics. This article discusses the variation apparent in the verbal and written discourses across both institutions and questions the navigation of the impersonal consumer subjectivity for fostering meaningful relationships between undergraduates and academics.