Grounding Employability in Both Agency and Collective Identity: An Emancipatory Agenda for Higher Education

Peter Kahn, Mariangela Lundgren‐Resenterra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Debates on graduate employability are presently dominated by a focus on labour market outcomes that are framed on an individualistic basis. Such a focus is evident not only when attention falls on the skills and experience of individual graduates, but also when analysis highlights the impact of social differences on individual positioning in the labour market. This chapter presents the argument that work itself is determined in fundamental ways on collective considerations. It argues, furthermore, that if graduate employability were to be understood as the capacity of a graduate to exercise agency in ways that contribute to collective agendas within workplaces, then there would be enhanced potential for universities and workplaces to address challenges that matter to society, including those that relate to such concerns as decent work, sustainability and equity. In considering the nature of contributions to collective agendas, the account explores how collective identity underpins both primary and corporate agency within workplaces, drawing on the realist social theory of Margaret Archer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Graduate Employability in Context
EditorsP Siivonen, U Isopahkala-Bouret, M Tomlinson, M Korhonen, N Haltia
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031206535
ISBN (Print)9783031206528, 9783031206559
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023


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