Subjectivities of the future

Year: 2017

Author: Edwards, Tony

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Subjectivities of the future
Populations of underrepresented groups in Higher Education have been the focus academic work around low levels of aspirations. Research explorations, into the field of widening participation have resulted in redrafted policy; the rolling out of generic programs; and revision of some institutional practices. The consequences of such responses remain contentious in terms of the extent of the positive impact that is realised at an individual level.
In light of a burgeoning awareness that young people in disadvantaged communities are actually aspirational there is cause to consider what determines a young person's expectations of the future. This paper draws on research into the experiences of young people as they go about imagining the future and their place in it. Rather than an account of aspirational deficiencies of an individual, this research tells stories of how some school students are limited or enabled through social experiences, in particular the exploration of those experiences that are not readily aligned with the doxa of Higher Education.
Interviews with students and teachers offer insights of the presence of a value adding to students that occurs in the school, in what can be accounted for as intersubjective space. When educators deliberately come to consider the lifeworld of individual students they begin to look for and promote the potential of that individual in context of acknowledged social structures.
This paper explores the nature and impact that a school can have upon the imaginative possibilities, that become scripted by young people over time, as acts of agency.