Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

College students and career: An exploration of vocational anticipatory socialization
by McAlpine, Teresa Elizabeth, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008, 236; 3315648
Abstract (Summary)

This project examines a group of college students' understandings of career as they prepare to graduate. Based on a grounded theory analysis of 10 focus groups and 21 interviews, this project explores the way 56 college seniors make sense of societal and familial career discourses. The students articulate dominant discourses of appropriate post-college choices. These include that the student should have a plan that meets the following standards: requires one's degree, ensures financial security, is prestigious, is career-focused, and is something at which one can excel. I analyze students' responses to these dominant discourses. While students accept the discourses by making discourse-aligned choices and judging those who do not comply, their acceptance is not total. Students also resist the dominant discourses. They do so by making alternative choices and calling upon resistance discourses. Students also simultaneously accept and resist the dominant discourses. Based on these findings, I argue that the dominant discourses experienced by the students operate as a form of control privileging certain career choices, approaches to career, and career decision-making criteria while marginalizing others. However, this control is not total. Instead, it exists in a dialectical relationship with resistance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mumby, Dennis K.
Commitee: Akos, Patrick T., Blair, Carole, May, Steven K., Rosenfeld, Lawrence B.
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Communication, Organizational behavior, Organization theory
Keywords: Career decision-making, Career discourse, College students, Critical theory, Organizational communication, Power/resistance dialectics, Socialization, Vocational anticipatory socialization
Publication Number: 3315648
ISBN: 978-0-549-67034-6
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