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Motives, commitment and student identity in higher education: experiences of non-traditional students in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (Vuxenpedagogik)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (Vuxenpedagogik)
Mälardalens högskola.
2013 (English)In: Studies in the Education of Adults, ISSN 0266-0830, Vol. 45, no 2, 177-193 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Changes in higher education (HE) in Sweden, from elite to mass education, with an increased number of students and institutions, has raised questions about the role of HE in society. Relating to conflicts between discourses of employability, democracy, traditional academic norms and experiences of non-traditional students, the aim of this article is to explore and discuss non-traditional students' motives for studying as part of the process of the formation of student identity apperant in student narratives. The material is based on 48 biographical interviews with non-traditional students at three HE institutions. The result shows different motives for entering, dropping out and continuing to study. From these motives, we have identified eight student identity types that are analysed in relation to commitment to HE, and to being a continuer versus a 'drop out': the altruistic student, the ambivalent student, the instrumental student, the one-track student and the self-realiser. These identity types are further discussed in relation to conflicting discourses of HE in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leicester: National Institute of Continuing Education , 2013. Vol. 45, no 2, 177-193 p.
Keyword [en]
Student motives, commitment to HE, biographical interviews, student identity types, the role of HE in society
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97021OAI: diva2:668656
Access and Retention - Experiences of non-traditional students in HE
EU, European Research Council, 135230-LLP-1-2007-1-UK-KA1-KA1SCR
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Thunborg, CamillaBron, Agnieszka
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