More than words: a critical discourse analysis of the University of Victoria Co-operative Education Program




Kobrc, Helen

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This study explored the discourse of the University of Victoria Social Sciences Co-op Program. It reviewed literature that illustrates how neoliberal ideologies due to globalization lead to the marketization of post-secondary education. It provided an overview of the neoliberal discursive context in which the Co-op Program is situated and a semiotic analysis of the discourse of three documents. Particular focus was paid to metaphoric representations. A co-op practitioner conducted the study, which included a reflective discussion of the findings related to the role of the Co-op Program staff, students and employers. The study highlighted neoliberal discourses that may impact a student’s educational experience by limiting student agency, reinforcing power structures, and focusing on career training with little emphasis on learning. As a way forward, the study presented different discourses and metaphoric representations that could be drawn upon to emancipate the students and harness the potential of an experiential education program.



discourse, neoliberalism, post-secondary education, bureaucracy, globalization, metaphor, co-operative education