This case study examines how a university student of translation and future graduate, 'Mia', constructs herself as a subject of value to the labour market by both adopting and resisting the demand to develop entrepreneurial and other employability capacities. The analysis shows that the neoliberal moral imperative to become an enterprising labouring subject provokes the assumption of a deviant academic identity and creates a need for accounts to restore the identity of a highly educated professional. In neoliberal educational policy, young people entering working life are typically presented as being 'at risk' and thus in need of acquiring an entrepreneurial mindset and skills. The analysis reveals, however, that in the face of the current working life, not only youth but also higher-education graduates in the midst of the labour market entry become positioned as beginners. The study sheds light on the neoliberal governance of the academic labour force and the context- and field-specific formation and negotiation of and resistance to the contemporary ideal of labouring subject, that is, the enterprising self.
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