Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Time, class and privilege in career imagination: Exploring study-to-work transition of Chinese international students in UK universities through a Bourdieusian lens

Xu, Cora Lingling

Time, class and privilege in career imagination: Exploring study-to-work transition of Chinese international students in UK universities through a Bourdieusian lens Thumbnail


Authors

Profile Image

Dr Cora Xu lingling.xu@durham.ac.uk
Associate Professor



Abstract

Existing research and policy on international students’ study-to-work transition fall short of a temporal theoretical perspective that is sensitive to the fluid and class-stratified nature of their career imagination. Career imagination refers to how international students conceive of, enact and reconfigure their careers as they encounter novel circumstances along their life courses. Drawing on in-depth interview data with 21 Chinese international students and graduates at UK higher education institutions, this article adopts a primarily Bourdieusian framework that centres around how time, class and privilege intersect to shape these students’ career imagination. In this framework, time is conceptualised both as a form of coveted cultural capital and as an underlining mechanism that constitutes these students’ habitus. This theoretical orientation facilitates exposition of the complex rationale behind the two observed temporal career strategies, ‘deferred gratification’ and ‘temporal destructuring’ and accentuates nuanced inequalities pertaining to fine-grained familial class backgrounds and places of origin of these students. This article furnishes empirical cases that challenge extant policy and empirical literature’s tendency to consider international students and their career imagination as homogeneous, individualised and present-focused. Instead, the empirical findings reveal how these Chinese international students’ career imagination is class-differentiated, embedded within and influenced by broader temporal structures and constantly evolving. This article thus advances understanding about how temporally sensitive and better differentiated career supports should be and could be tailored for international students at policy and practice levels.

Citation

Xu, C. L. (2021). Time, class and privilege in career imagination: Exploring study-to-work transition of Chinese international students in UK universities through a Bourdieusian lens. Time & Society, 30(1), 5-29. https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463x20951333

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 21, 2020
Publication Date Feb 1, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 26, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 17, 2020
Journal Time & Society
Print ISSN 0961-463X
Electronic ISSN 1461-7463
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 5-29
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463x20951333
Related Public URLs https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/8462/

Files

Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (625 Kb)
PDF

Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).




You might also like



Downloadable Citations