Doctoral thesis (Dissertations and theses)
Employability among university graduates in Luxembourg: the role of sociolinguistic repertoires
Domina, Oksana


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Keywords :
Employability; Sociolinguistic repertoires; Bourdieu; theory of practice; social field; habitus
Abstract :
[en] The primary aim of this dissertation was to investigate the role of sociolinguistic repertoires in relation to employability among young people in Luxembourg by applying Bourdieu`s theory of practice. To date, however, little is known concerning the interplay between sociolinguistic repertoires (i.e. a bundle of linguistic resources, social skills, cultural competences) and employability. The lack of prior research on this topic has led to the development of sociolinguistic repertoires as a new concept, which was reviewed during the analysis of the empirical data collected for this project. In order to achieve the main goal, two objectives were set: 1) identify how university graduates and employers perceive employability; 2) analyse how university graduates and employers perceive language (linguistic resources) in relation to employability. The project was designed as an interview study, where qualitative interviews were conducted with both groups – employers and university students, to explore the perception of employability and the role of sociolinguistic repertoires in it. This study has shown that both, employers and students, perceive employability mainly in relation to personal qualities or resources, where even the candidate’s social engagement; leisure activities; hobbies and how well one fits into the working environment can play a decisive role when making the employment decision. These findings support Bourdieu`s theory of practice and demonstrate how its key concepts – capital, habitus and the field are applied in the context of employment. One of the most important findings of this study was that linguistic resources can serve as a transmitter of feelings not only in the sphere of private life but also in the employment context, as they can help to establish feelings of connection and rapport between an employer and an applicant; employees; clients etc.; belonginess to a certain community or group, particularly if a person has a foreign background; convenience and/or confidence when speaking a certain language. The findings further demonstrated that, except perceiving language as a transmitter of certain feelings, the interview participants associated linguistic resources with certain cultural competences, which constitute one of the main elements of sociolinguistic repertoires. Based on the findings of this study, sociolinguistic repertoires can be defined as a bundle of linguistic resources, where every resource has a certain social value, which partly depends on the awareness and ability of a speaker to use these resources appropriately in certain social contexts. This research enhances our understanding of conceptualisation of employability not only as a social construct or merely an individual`s human capital, but as a conception that depends on the interplay of individual capabilities and social context. This research also informs our empirical understanding of the concept of sociolinguistic repertoires in relation to employability in a multilingual and multicultural country such as Luxembourg.
Research center :
Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) > Institute for Research on Generations and Family
Disciplines :
Sociology & social sciences
Author, co-author :
Domina, Oksana ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC)
Language :
Title :
Employability among university graduates in Luxembourg: the role of sociolinguistic repertoires
Defense date :
10 December 2021
Number of pages :
Institution :
Unilu - University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Degree :
Docteur en Sciences Sociales
Promotor :
President :
Jury member :
Ehrhart, Sabine 
Langinier, Hélène
Imdorf, Christian
FnR Project :
FNR11602897 - Employability Among Young People In Luxembourg: The Role Of Lifestyle And Linguistic Repertoire, 2017 (15/09/2017-14/09/2021) - Oksana Domina
Name of the research project :
Employability among university graduates in Luxembourg: the role of sociolinguistic repertoires (EMPLOY-LUX)
Funders :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche [LU]
Available on ORBilu :
since 06 March 2022


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