Deconstructing 'Aspiration': UK policy debates and European policy trends

Spohrer, Konstanze (2011) Deconstructing 'Aspiration': UK policy debates and European policy trends. European Educational Research Journal, 10 (1). pp. 53-63. ISSN 1474-9041

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Strategies of 'employability' and 'activation' are increasingly favoured in the European Union policy context. These strategies are aimed at fostering inclusion by stressing the responsibility of the individual to participate in education and employment. Similar tendencies can be observed in the United Kingdom (UK) over the last decade, among them a debate on raising young people's aspirations. The article reports first findings from a research project on the construction of 'aspiration' in and through policy debates in the United Kingdom. Drawing on Michel Foucault's concepts of Archaeology and Genealogy, policy documents were analysed for the discursive strategies they employ. The analysis suggests that the debate on 'aspiration' constructs young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as deficient, conflates economic and social equality discourses and individualises structural problems. These discursive strategies mirror tendencies that can be observed in strategies of activation and employability in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Focusing on 'aspiration' can be regarded as a way to prepare young people for the responsibility to actively pursue labour market participation at an even earlier stage.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's version of an article, the final version of which is published in the Symposium Journals publication European Educational Research Journal
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Users 4 not found.
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2013 10:37
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2013 10:37

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