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David Mills and Julia Paulson

Recent research on doctoral education in the U.K. has revealed the increasing number and diversity of academic relationships that shape the lives of research students, and students' own role in activating, mobilising and maintaining these relationships. Higher education policy reforms promoting doctoral 'skills training', interdisciplinary communities, thematic centres and supervisory teams, all create new networks for students to negotiate. Often beneficial and supportive, this article explores the 'unmentionable' consequences of relationships that gradually go awry.

This study began as a project exploring the everyday experiences of doctoral students and early career researchers in the Social Sciences within the U.K. As the research unfolded, we began to encounter accounts of neglect, exploitation and denigration. While such stories have long been part of postgraduate life, their seeming persistence in the face of robust quality assurance and supervisory codes needs further exploration. We offer three portraits of difficult doctoral journeys to explore these 'unmentionable' experiences and explore whether they are linked to growing institutional and career pressures on academics to prioritise research 'productivity'.

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Junaid Rana

My Ethnography of the University (EUI) course 'Muslims in America' introduces undergraduate students to the racialisation of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. at large, and in the University in particular. In this article, I describe how an anti-racist pedagogy coupled with student ethnographic research can yield a rich learning process. Beginning with one of the key debates in the scholarship on Muslims in the United States, I introduce students to the productive ways in which a multiracial history of American Islam can inform their ethnographic research. Additionally, I elaborate the potential for student research to transform university policy. The University offers a valuable ethno- graphic site for the critical study of the history and place of Muslims in U.S. society, politics and culture.

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Managing Time and Making Space

Canadian Students' Motivations for Study in Australia

Heather Barnick

This article examines the ways in which Canadian students on an exchange or study abroad programme in Australia articulated the value of their experience in connection with time and, more particularly, time constraints. Where Canadian universities often promote study abroad programmes in connection with the global knowledge-based economy, students' desires to travel abroad were more often rooted in a desire to take 'time out' while remaining productive towards the completion of future goals. Students' narratives reveal a connection between time management, travel, and the formations of a class identity. Rather than analysing time strictly as a form of capital, however, insights are generated around time as practice, that is, how time becomes an important factor in students' continual negotiations of space, social relationships, and what could be called a 'lifetime itinerary'.

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Representing the Self and the Other

American College Students in Mytilene, Greece.

Vasiliki Galani-Moutafi

Over the last several years I have been lecturing to American students visiting the north-eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where their study abroad programme is based – in the town of Mytilene – via its association with the University of the Aegean, where I teach. Having had the opportunity to know closely several of these students and to be the recipient of their reactions to their self-experiences, it became evident that their crossing into another cultural context provided occasions for reflexivity. In line with the argument that a heightened awareness is a feature of ‘incomerness’ and of the meeting of ‘others’ (Kohn 1994: 19), the students’ relative linguistic incompetence, combined with their anxiety to conduct themselves in culturally ‘appropriate’ ways – not only for the purpose of handling practical matters, but also in order not to stand out awkwardly nor to offend those ‘others’ close to them – placed them in a liminal situation, one that prompted reflexivity (Babcock 1980). It appears that they struggled with the anxiety-ridden task of what Bourdieu calls ‘practical mastery’ (1977) in order to achieve some basic engagedness. Interestingly, the students would often label this socialisation process as ‘work’, wishing perhaps, through the metaphoric usage of the term, to emphasise the stressful and exhausting effect on the body and mind of this constant trial-and-error effort. I approach the students’ endeavour as a potential ‘journey of self-discovery’, focusing my analysis on their efforts to grapple with the problem of difference and strangeness, especially for the types of selfimages they reveal.

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Learning for citizenship online

How can students develop intercultural awareness and construct knowledge together?

Hugh Starkey and Nicola Savvides

This article evaluates ways in which students on an online Master's programme are learning about citizenship and developing intercultural awareness in spite of the lack of face-to-face interaction. There is still debate about the effectiveness of online courses and whether they provide an adequate substitute for, or even an improvement on, classroom-based learning. We employ qualitative research methods and deploy instruments for analysing constructivist learning to evaluate the extent to which students are constructing knowledge through online discussions as well as learning from research-led teaching materials. We also analyse online discussions for evidence of social presence, including the interventions of the course tutor. We conclude that students do feel themselves to be members of an international learning community and that their interactions can promote higher-order learning. We draw attention to some advantages of online courses such as the possibility of crafting a contribution and the availability of discussions as a resource.

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Karima Kadi-Hanifi

This interdisciplinary paper is about applying Adult Education methods of learning and teaching to higher education. I argue that higher education students need to be stimulated via interactive methods that improve their motivation and lead them to question the value system/s that exist around them. A Freirean approach as used in the teaching of Adult Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) was applied to a group of 'elite' students at the University of Birmingham who were taking a language foundation course. As a sociolinguist and ESOL practitioner from a black perspective, I argue that the understanding of concepts of language and racism, imperialism and social class can best be facilitated using such an approach. Taking groups of students through this learning journey is challenging for higher education practitioners and the results add a relatively new dimension to the collective reflection on learning and teaching in higher education today.

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Stig Thøgersen

The article focuses on Chinese students' hopes and expectations before leaving to study abroad. The national political environment for their decision to go abroad is shaped by an official narrative of China's transition to a more creative and innovative economy. Students draw on this narrative to interpret their own educational histories and prior experiences, while at the same time making use of imaginaries of 'Western' education to redefine themselves as independent individuals in an increasingly globalised and individualised world. Through a case study of prospective pre-school teachers preparing to study abroad, the article shows how personal, professional and even national goals are closely interwoven. Students expect education abroad to be a personally transformative experience, but rather than defining their goals of individual freedom and creativity in opposition to the authoritarian political system, they think of themselves as having a role in the transformation of Chinese attitudes to education and parent-child relations.

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Strawberry fields forever?

Bulgarian and Romanian student workers in the UK

Mariya Ivancheva

This article is based on fieldwork conducted among Romanian and Bulgarian students working under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme in the UK. It shows how a public discourse on the benefits of and for immigrant seasonal workers silences the voices of these workers. It also discusses how a hidden transcript of the student workers shows they are deeply frustrated about their exploitation in terms of wages, living conditions, and the fact that they have come to the UK on false promises of cultural exchange and learning. The confinement of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants—such as these student workers—to the unskilled and underpaid labor sector in the UK, which continues despite Romania and Bulgaria's recent accession to the EU, not only reproduces the dual labor market in the UK itself but it also reduces Romania and Bulgaria to 'second-hand' EU members states.

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Lorenzo Mosca

This chapter looks at the most important actors engaged in social and political conflict in Italy during 2012, linking conflicts to policy arenas and the change in policy style of the government. The study is based mostly on a qualitative analysis of the most important national newspapers. The actors examined are the mobilization of students, the trade union movement, the “No TAV” movement (against high-speed trains in northwestern Italy), and the Five Star Movement, all active against the anti-austerity measures of the technical government. Social reaction against so-called neo-liberal policies in Italy has been belated and fragmented when compared with other European countries. In the final section we discuss the explanations for the particular characteristics of the Italian protest movements during 2012.

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‘Burying the ANC’

Post-apartheid Ambiguities at the University of Limpopo, South Africa

Bjarke Oxlund

Based on an in-depth analysis of the events that took place during a single day at the University of Limpopo, this article makes connections between current and past events in arguing that post-apartheid South Africa is underpinned by several layers of ambiguity. At one level the article seeks to demonstrate the continuing relevance of situational analysis as a research paradigm, while at another level it attempts to provide a fresh look at the dominant cleavage in South African society that was identified by Max Gluckman in 1940. Drawing on a mock funeral held for government-aligned student organizations in October 2006, which revealed strains and uncertainties in South Africa's post-apartheid society, the intent is to show how the government's failure to secure service delivery has created new lines of contestation.