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Higher education students as political actors: evidence from England and Ireland

Brooks, Rachel (2018) Higher education students as political actors: evidence from England and Ireland Journal of Youth Studies.

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Higher education (HE) students have often been viewed as important political actors in wider society, stemming largely from their activities in the 1960s. Nevertheless, like much of the literature on youth political participation, research has rarely explored the extent to which student political participation varies across nation-states. This article begins to redress this gap by drawing upon data collected from focus groups with undergraduate students in England and Ireland, alongside an analysis of relevant policy documents from both countries. Overall, we argue that, whilst English and Irish students expressed similar desires to be politically active, they differed in the extent to which they felt empowered to do so and the perceived scope of their influence. Similar differences were evident, to some extent, in the way in which students’ political activity were seen by policymakers. These cross-national differences are explained with reference to contextual factors and, in particular, variation in the degree of HE marketisation in the two countries. There is also evidence to suggest that students are sensitive to the way in which they are constructed in policy, which affects their sense of selves as political actors.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 10 July 2018
DOI : 10.1080/13676261.2018.1484431
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License ( ), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Higher Education; Students; Political Actor; England; Ireland
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 05 Jun 2018 14:17
Last Modified : 12 Jul 2018 14:38

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