"Actually thats so studenty, its so brideshead revisited!": A discursive approach to the 'student identity'
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Sinclair, James B.
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Much discursive research into identity has used students as participants but thus far none have focused exclusively on the ‘student identity’ itself. This study takes a discursive psychology approach to investigating this identity. Focus groups based upon a semi-structured questionnaire were carried out with students from a traditional academic university as the participants. The sessions were audio recorded, transcribed and then analysed, in the tradition of discursive psychology, for prominent discursive features in which the participants made relevant the ‘student identity’. It was found that a ‘lifestyle of freedom’ was used as a central feature of, and used to positively evaluate, the ‘student identity’. Furthermore this ‘lifestyle talk’ was utilised to carry out both explicitly egalitarian and explicitly prejudiced talk. The egalitarian talk concerned those at more vocational institutions and contained implicit prejudice suggesting the discursive strategy of a ’new studentism’. The prejudiced talk was concerned with those at the participants own university, or those at similar traditional academic universities, and appears to be orientated towards the participants avoiding being stereotyped themselves.