Symbolic closure: Towards a renewed sociological perspective on the relationship between higher education, credentials and the graduate labour market

Tholen, G. (2016). Symbolic closure: Towards a renewed sociological perspective on the relationship between higher education, credentials and the graduate labour market. Sociology, doi: 10.1177/0038038516641857

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Abstract

This article explores how our understanding of the graduate labour market can be improved by re-assessing some of the insights of the conflictual tradition within sociology. In particular, its theorising of ‘social closure’ and the use of educational credentials within the labour market remain highly relevant. Yet these ideas need to be modified to better deal with the current social, economic and educational contexts. This article extends the social closure literature to deal with some of the changes within the graduate labour market by turning to Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas on symbolic violence. I will argue that ‘symbolic closure’, the reliance on exclusion through categorisation and classification, becomes of greater importance in a graduate labour market that no longer offers any clarity about what graduate skills, jobs and rewards constitute and signify.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2016
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bourdieu; conflict sociology; credentialism; graduate labour market; higher education; social closure; symbolic closure
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13663

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