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The powerful student consumer and the commodified academic: A depiction of the marketised UK Higher Education system through a textual analysis of the ITV drama Cheat.

Silverio, SA, Wilkinson, C and Wilkinson, S The powerful student consumer and the commodified academic: A depiction of the marketised UK Higher Education system through a textual analysis of the ITV drama Cheat. Sociological Research Online. ISSN 1360-7804 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Through a textual analysis of four episodes comprising the 2019 ITV 1 psychological thriller Cheat, this paper explores a fictional representation of the United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education (HE) setting in the television drama. We discuss our analysis in the context of growing marketisation of UK HE, where academics are increasingly viewing students as powerful consumers. We focus on one of the central characters, final-year undergraduate student Rose Vaughan, and the staff with whom she interacts in a fictional HE institution – St. Helen’s College. This paper engages with the following themes: ‘The powerful student consumer’; and ‘The commodified academic’. Insight gleaned through the textual analysis of this dramatised depiction of UK HE allows us to attempt to understand how both students and academics might be navigating the neoliberal university and negotiating place and status as (paying) students and (commercial) academics. Though heralded as powerful student-consumers in much literature, our analysis of this television drama shows how students can potentially disrupt the united front often attempted by HE institutions, but ultimately are faced with a ‘the house always wins’i scenario. Our paper offers an important contribution to the psycho-sociological literature into how the television drama depicts that the student experience has been transformed and impacted by HE's marketisation. This includes a reconsideration of how the television drama portrays what it means to be a student, by exploring how one student is conceptualised, understood, and represented in the psychological thriller.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1608 Sociology
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Education
Publisher: Sage
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2020 12:16
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2020 12:16
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13941

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