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