A reflection on the opportunities and challenges associated with teaching the sociology of employability.


  • Craig Martin Morris University of Greenwich




Employability, Neo-Liberalism, Higher Education, Teaching


This discussion piece addresses the opportunities and challenges that producing and delivering an employability-related course poses, when that course is taught on a programme situated within a critical discipline (sociology). It addresses the conflict between neoliberal discourses on employability and critical responses to this within sociological approaches to the issue. It does this by using a Bourdieusian (1979; 1986; 1990) framework. I conclude the paper by reflecting upon how these two, seemingly intractable, positions can both be drawn upon by students and the institution.

Author Biography

Craig Martin Morris, University of Greenwich

Sociologist, University of Greenwich, Senior Lecturer.


Ainley, P. and Allen M. (2010) Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education. London: Continuum.

Boden, R. and Nedeva, M. (2010) ‘Employing discourse: Universities and graduate ‘employability’, Journal of Education Policy, 25 (1) 37-54.

Bourdieu, P. (1979) Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1986) ‘The Forms of Capital.’ In: J. Richardson (ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research in Education. Westport CT: Greenwood.

Bourdieu, P. (1990) The Logic of Practice, p.66. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1992) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Brown, P., Hesketh, A. and Williams, S. (2003) ‘Employability in a knowledge-driven economy.’ Journal of Education and Work, 16, (2), 107-126.

Foucault, M. (1974) The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock.

Gee, J. P. (1999) An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method. London: Routledge.