Methodological Principles and Practice
Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron
Trawling for Students: How Do Educational Institutions Compete for Students?
Competition Between Educational Institutions
Educational institutions, in Denmark as elsewhere, are increasingly economically dependent upon sustaining certain levels of recruitment for their survival. As sustaining recruitment relates to the perceived status of the specific education, the occupations to which it leads, and the institution providing the education, educational institutions struggle for dominant positions within the field of education, as well as competing for student recruitment. For a number of reasons, educational policies being the most obvious one, a dominant position within the field of education does not in itself translate to a secure position in terms of recruitment. The relative positions of educational institutions within the field of education are thus competitively related to the structure of said field. Such relations are both competitive – which is to say, the institutions are attempting to recruit somewhat similar students – but also alliances, whereby the institutions tacitly agree to pursue different groups of students, in order not to escalate their competitive struggles. This article examines a case of such competition, in order to determine how such struggles reveal and affect both the overall structure of the field of education, and the hierarchies between particular agents within that field. In order to examine such struggle, I investigate the educational institutions in question, as properties of the students they succeed in recruiting; in other words the relations between the educational institutions are here understood to be homologous to the relations between the groups of students inhabiting them.