Four years ago I speculated on graduation from the point of view of the rising trend of graduation for young children, which to my mind confuses progression and graduation. This too makes for a good read, although from a different angle.
But a number of issues around students not able to graduate (because they have not fulfilled the requirements of the programme or because they have not turned up) lead to me look again at just what is graduation. At Brookes, for example, there exists a persistent myth embedded in the language of the ceremony about whether you are a BA (or whatever) without the ceremony – in other words, is our ceremony a conferment of degrees? This leads me to wonder about really what comes down to two themes:
What if we look at the language of the ceremony? Are we really addressing graduands who become graduates?
What about the ritual? What is conferred, what is received? Is there a quasi-sacramental element here?
In other words, is it possible to look at a graduation ceremony through the eyes of a liturgist?