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Constructing Political Subjectivity: The Perspectives of Sabbatical Officers from English Students’ Unions

Raaper, R

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Abstract

Informed by policy sociology and a Foucauldian theorisation, this article explores how a selection of sabbatical officers from English students’ unions formed their political subjectivity during the policy consultation processes leading to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Discourse analysis demonstrated a strong influence of the unions’ professional staff members and the National Union of Students on sabbatical officers’ work. In particular, they guided the officers in writing a response to the Government consultation document and lobbying politicians. These actions indicated that the sabbatical officers’ political subjectivity was highly dependent on professional actors and discourses. The shift towards professionalisation, however, received diverse responses from participants. Some perceived it as leading to necessary policy amendments; others were concerned about wider depoliticisation of their role and student movement. The article suggests that the sabbatical officers interviewed operated within a complex network of competing interests, raising questions about (1) whose political agency they enacted and (2) their future opportunities to successfully unite and challenge higher education policy in neoliberal times.

Citation

Raaper, R. (2020). Constructing Political Subjectivity: The Perspectives of Sabbatical Officers from English Students’ Unions. Higher Education, 79(1), 141-157. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00400-9

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2019
Online Publication Date May 14, 2019
Publication Date Jan 31, 2020
Deposit Date May 9, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 15, 2019
Journal Higher Education
Print ISSN 0018-1560
Electronic ISSN 1573-174X
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 79
Issue 1
Pages 141-157
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00400-9

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.





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