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CRESJ Seminar Series: Coercion, Mimesis, and Normativity in UK Social Science Doctoral Funding

Posted on 2 November 2017

Dr Richard Budd will present his recent research on access to postgraduate education.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Richard Budd from Liverpool Hope University to present our next CRESJ seminar.  He is associate director of the Centre for Education and Policy Analysis (CEPA) and a Lecturer in Education Studies at Liverpool Hope University. He also contributes to a university-wide group looking at widening participation.


Dr Budd's talk focusses on coercion, mimesis and normativity in UK social science doctoral funding. In 2010 the ESRC launched 21 Doctoral Training Centres, concentrating all of its doctoral funding through 46 universities for the next five (subsequently six) years. Dr Budd's talk will consider how this excluded the majority of UK HEIs from offering ESRC-funded doctorates, many of whom had been able to before 2010. His paper describes the organisational experiences of, and responses to, this policy from universities both within and outside the ESRC DTC 'fold', through interviews with 30 senior researchers and university managers. It draws on a theoretical approach known as 'neo-institutionalism', which holds that organisations in a given field - an 'institution' - align themselves across that field through a combination of coercion, mimesis, and normativity (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). He argues that they are encouraged to towards isomorphism due to policy dis-/incentives, copying others, and adhering to what are seen as shared values or behaviours. We will see examples of these in accounts across the sector, and that having - or being deprived of - the ESRC 'kite mark' for doctoral training carries significant costs and/or benefits. How universities negotiated this context varied, to some extent dependent on their organisational status and history.


The talk will take place on Wednesday 15th November at 4pm in the Spring Lane Building (SLB/106).