Past Event details

Using theory to understand HE student futures: the ‘possible selves’ concept and its application to analysis of higher education

Monday, 13 March 2017

In this seminar, three speakers discuss the uses and potential of the possible selves concept as a way of understanding complex issues in Higher Education. Presentations will argue for the importance of developing theoretical tools for the current temporal Higher Education climate, addressing issues such as student motivation and gendered doctoral student experiences, as well as highlighting methodological approaches to researching future temporalities. Seeing the future as integral to the present practices of educational institutions and people, the seminar will focus on the ways in which social inequalities of the present work to constitute inequalities in the imagined futures of Higher Education. This seminar follows June 2016’s highly successful event which brought together newer and more established researchers looking at issues of access, widening participation, post-compulsory education and social justice, with a focus on the theme of imagined futures.

First published thirty years ago, Markus and Nurius’ paper introduced the concept of the ‘possible self’ into the field of cognitive psychology in the US. In the years since the publication of that paper, the concept has been taken up in the form of research in educational psychology, along with research-informed interventions in educational settings from schools to young offenders’ institutions and university campuses. The potential of the ‘possible selves’ approach stems from its understanding of the imagined or feared future self as having an impact on present behaviour. The researchers brought together by these seminars are united by their desire to put the possible selves concept to work in psychosocial analyses of Higher Education. As such the seminar offers the opportunity to question and challenge theoretical engagements with temporality, as well as to engage with methodological issues and findings from empirical research. In the context of market-driven, temporally complex priorities of employability and research funding bids, the role of the future in conceptualising the present of Higher Education is more relevant and more important than ever. The second event in this series offers an exploration of ‘possible selves’ as a way of understanding and researching temporal subjects in Higher Education. 

Speakers and Topics 

 
Extending the analytical scope of theories of ‘possible selves’
Professor Sue Clegg, Emeritus Professor, Leeds Beckett University, UK
 
Letters to Our Future Selves: Exploring how women doctoral students visualise their futures
Rachel Handforth, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
 
Potentials and challenges when using possible selves in studies of student motivation 
Martin G Erikson, University of Borås, Sweden
 

Audio podcasts of the above presentations are available from the following link

 
 
 PowerPoint presentations are available from the 'Event Files' section below:
 
 
 

Network: Joint Network Events
Date: Monday, 13 March 2017
Times: 12.15-16.00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
This event has expired

Event Files
File Details Download
Extending the analytical scope of theories of possible selves
Professor Sue Clegg
Download
Letters to Our Future Selves: Exploring how women doctoral students visualise their futures
Rachel Handforth
Download
Potentials and challenges when using possible selves in studies of student motivation
Martin G Erikson
Download
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