Educational trajectories of LIS students: continuities and transformations
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The information sector is a dynamic disciplinary and professional field, located in a fluid social and technological environment. The educational choices of students in library and information science (LIS) departments is an important aspect of the process through which they construct their ambitions, plans, and future capabilities, and so research on students' choices and their educational careers as social processes is also important. Through a detailed consideration of case study accounts of students from LIS departments in Greece, the argument for the importance of social and cultural factors in the formation of students' identity is advanced. Data were collected in two research phases using a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews. Analysis of data demonstrates the complexity of the process of making educational choices, revealing how individual, family, social, and institutional factors interrelate with the ways young people cope with contingencies, and with social and personal relations. How these complex influences facilitate or impede students' trajectories within higher education institutions is also shown, as well as how they act upon the construction of their pedagogic identities. Of considerable significance is the finding that students from lower social class backgrounds tend to form pedagogic identities that are fragile. By contrast, students from families with significant amounts of cultural and social capital are in a position to exploit the academic and social resources of institutions, and to construct embedded identities with a strong scientific basis. More research is needed to illuminate how LIS departments could develop mechanisms to reduce such discrepancies.
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