What can research into graduate employability tell us about agency and structure?

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Tholen, G. (2015)

Traditionally theorists who have written about agency and structure have eschewed empirical research. This article uses the findings of an empirical study into graduate employability to inform the sociological debate on how they relate to each other. The study examined how Dutch and British final-year students approach the labour market right before they graduate. The study revealed that the labour market and education structures are mirrored in how students understand and act within the labour market. It also showed that the interplay between agency and structure is mediated by an intersubjective framework shared by other students. The article argues that previous theoretical views on employability have failed to understand this and suggests how to improve our understanding of agency and structure.
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