Xu, L (2020) Time, class and privilege in career imagination: Exploring study-to-work transition of Chinese international students in UK universities through a Bourdieusian lens. Time and Society. ISSN 0961-463X

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Existing research and policy on international students’ study-to-work transition fall short of a temporal theoretical perspective that is sensitive to the fluid and class-stratified nature of their career imagination. Career imagination refers to how international students conceive of, enact and reconfigure their careers as they encounter novel circumstances along their life courses. Drawing on in-depth interview data with 21 Chinese international students and graduates at UK higher education institutions, this article adopts a primarily Bourdieusian framework that centres around how time, class and privilege intersect to shape these students’ career imagination. In this framework, time is conceptualised both as a form of coveted cultural capital and as an underlining mechanism that constitutes these students’ habitus. This theoretical orientation facilitates exposition of the complex rationale behind the two observed temporal career strategies, ‘deferred gratification’ and ‘temporal destructuring’ and accentuates nuanced inequalities pertaining to fine-grained familial class backgrounds and places of origin of these students. This article furnishes empirical cases that challenge extant policy and empirical literature’s tendency to consider international students and their career imagination as homogeneous, individualised and present-focused. Instead, the empirical findings reveal how these Chinese international students’ career imagination is class-differentiated, embedded within and influenced by broader temporal structures and constantly evolving. This article thus advances understanding about how temporally sensitive and better differentiated career supports should be and could be tailored for international students at policy and practice levels.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final accepted version of this aarticle is available as Gold Open Access. It can be found with all relevant information at; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0961463X20951333/
Uncontrolled Keywords: career imagination, Bourdieu, time, class, study-to-work, international students
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Business School
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 07:49
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 15:42
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8462

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