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Are Spanish Students Customers? Paradoxical Perceptions of the Impact of Marketisation on Higher Education in Spain

Jayadeva, S; Brooks, R; Gupta, A; Abrahams, J; Lažetič, P; Lainio, A; (2021) Are Spanish Students Customers? Paradoxical Perceptions of the Impact of Marketisation on Higher Education in Spain. Sociological Research Online , 26 (1) pp. 185-204. 10.1177/1360780420968577. Green open access

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Abstract

This article examines how higher education (HE) students are conceptualised in Spain, drawing on an analysis of policy and institutional narratives about such students, as well as on the perspectives of university staff and students themselves. More specifically, it will explore an interesting paradox that we encountered in our data: on one hand, marketisation is less firmly established in the HE system of Spain than in many other European countries, and policy and institutional narratives in Spain present the HE system as being relatively unmarketised. On the other hand, the staff and students we interviewed presented the Spanish HE system and the student experience as having been dramatically transformed by marketisation. In analysing this paradox, the article highlights the importance of not viewing countries as coherent educational entities. In addition – while broadly supporting scholarship that has pointed to a growing market orientation of national HE systems across Europe – the article draws attention to how the manner in which the marketisation of HE is experienced on the ground can be very different in different national contexts, and may be mediated by a number of factors, including perceptions about the quality of educational provision and the labour market rewards of a degree; the manner in which the private cost of education (if any) is borne by students and their families; and the extent to which marketisation may have become entrenched and normalised in the HE system of a country.

Type: Article
Title: Are Spanish Students Customers? Paradoxical Perceptions of the Impact of Marketisation on Higher Education in Spain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1360780420968577
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1360780420968577
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: consumer, Europe, higher education, marketisation, policy, Spain, students
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124248
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