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    Using phenomenology in careers research: student experiences of unpaid work

    Cunningham, Eileen, Christie, Fiona ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1384-3683 and Antoniadou, Marilena ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4025-035X (2022) Using phenomenology in careers research: student experiences of unpaid work. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 50 (4). pp. 647-659. ISSN 0306-9885

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    Abstract

    Career guidance has been criticised for focusing too heavily on individual agency, complying with discourses that ‘responsibilize’ individuals to manage their careers. A social justice approach to guidance argues for a more nuanced recognition of the interplay of structure and agency, which raises questions about how to do this in practice, policy, and research? This paper argues for the value of interpretive phenomenology which challenges what is taken-for-granted, illuminates the nature of shared experience, and enables a deeper understanding of individuals within their environment and over time. Through data gathered from interviews with higher education students and recent graduates, we illustrate how experiences of unpaid work are intricately interwoven with and influenced by biography, relationships, location, and resources over time. We illustrate how van Manen’s (1990) pragmatic phenomenological approach offers theoretical tools of value to social justice approaches to guidance practice and research.

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