Over-the-Counter Culture: Appropriating the Arts to Vocationalize Higher Education

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Arthur Scarritt


A common criticism of higher education is that it has become too vocationalized; that the complex knowledge contained within an institution’s curriculum is only ever utilized to the achievement of a position that secures economic stability. In order to understand if this vocationalization has truly occurred throughout higher education, an examination of the least likely discipline to experience vocationalization is analyzed, the creative arts. Should the creative arts show evidence of being influenced by an economic centric and job-achievement focused framework, then the entire liberal arts, and university institution as a whole, have likely become instruments in the reproduction of a vocationalized (job-focused) economy of knowledge. This study shows, through the thorough qualitative analysis of interviews from students of Boise State, that the system of higher education is in fact being vocationalized to its furthest potential with direct consequences to both the society and the individual.

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