Why Do University Students in the UK Buy Assignments from Essay Mills?

  • Michael Naughton University of Bristol
Keywords: Student plagiarism, contract cheating, essay mills, strain theory, disposable people, political violence

Abstract

This article considers the growing crisis on a specific form of plagiarism in the UK where students purchase assignments from so called essay mills which they then submit as their own work. It departs from the dominant discourses, however, to highlight the sociological context within which such student plagiarism, termed contract cheating, is occurring. This context revolves around an increasing shortage of graduate jobs and the stress and anxiety caused by the competition for the jobs that are available. It argues that the dominant discourses that simply describe and denounce contract cheating are not only devoid of such a contextual understanding, they work against such an analysis. It concludes that the way to prevent or eradicate such student plagiarism lies not in the criminalisation and punishment of offending businesses or individual miscreates but, rather, in a sociological understanding of why it occurs in the first place, which signals the need for radical reform of the existing social order as it relates to employment and education.

Published
2020-04-07
Section
Articles