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Performativity and enjoyable learning

By B Humberstone, Colin Beard and B Clayton


This paper takes critical lenses to interpret what students find enjoyable in their learning in specific ‘subject’ environments within the prevailing socio-economic climate in higher education. It considers student dispositions that emerged from dialogues with two groups of students attending a non-traditional university and taking vocational degrees within England, UK. We argue that although each higher education institute can become its own destiny, it can only do so within the boundaries of state policy and its technologies. Higher education, when affected by cultures of ‘performativity’, is arguably focused less on knowledge for ‘emancipation’ and its own sake and more on the ‘use value’ of its products. This paper argues that what is valued by these particular students in their learning and what gives them positive feelings as they engage with this process of learning is not altogether independent of the current governances shaping higher education

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2011
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