De-Centering Employability: Reimagining Student Success in Political Education


The high cost of studying at American universities simultaneously limits their ability to promote socio-economic mobility and creates institutional incentives to foreground employability skills (i.e., data analysis, inter-personal communication, critical thinking, etc.) as a primary marker of degree utility. The centrality of employability skills to how political science departments market their course offerings constitutes an attempt to retain students legitimately concerned about post-college financial stability. This paper examines the relationship between neoliberal discourses and collective understandings of the purpose of political education. It argues that overwhelming attention given to employability skills inhibits students from reimagining global futures in which other kinds of skills might ascend in importance or in which they might put their education towards different ends. Moreover, it is particularly integral to the study of political science to include within its purview analyses of the socio-political factors that animate its own pedagogy.



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