Higher education students as consumers? Evidence from England

Rachel Brooks, Jessica Abrahams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

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In this chapter, we draw on an analysis of English policy documents and focus groups with students at three English higher education institutions, to explore some of the complexity in the ways in which the concept of student-as-consumer is discussed by both those formulating policy and the intended recipients. In relation to policies, this is evident in some of the apparent contradictions within government documents which, on one hand, emphasise strongly many aspects of a consumer discourse (foregrounding ideas around investment, choice and ensuring value of money) but, on the other hand, also discuss in some detail the vulnerability of students and their need of protection– which is clearly at odds with the notion of an ‘empowered consumer’. With respect to students, a similar degree of complexity can be seen in their differential awareness of the student-as-consumer discourse, and their varied responses to it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducational choices, transitions and aspirations in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationsystematic, institutional and subjective challenges
EditorsA Tarabini, N Ingram
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315102368
ISBN (Print)9781138104037
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in International and Comparative Education
PublisherTaylor and Francis

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Higher Education Transformations


  • institutional habitus
  • secondary education
  • working class young people
  • working class educational failure
  • track choices


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