Passion in a climate of austerity: Young men's perceptions of education and career success in a polarized economy
This article explores young men’s educational experiences and career trajectories in the context of restrained public expenditure, neoliberal educational policies, tightening job opportunities and growing concern of the gender achievement gap. Based on focus group research among young postsecondary-educated students in Ontario, Canada, this article reveals how young men, in particular, emphasize the importance of passion and purpose in creating successful selves and in navigating higher education. The author examines research findings through a transdisciplinary lens that juxtaposes psychological research on passion, management perspectives on success, economic studies on gender and the labour market, and critical perspectives of gendered subjectivities within the context of a declining manufacturing sector and a rising service-led knowledge economy to explore and analyze how young men construct their learner subjectivities. As such, these narratives should be read as the product of risk-taking, heroic and self-confident self- entrepreneurship that necessarily involves self-regulation, introspection, diligence and responsibility.