Identity invisibility and social forces

Davis, Jane and Parchoma, Gale and Ashwin, Paul (2013) Identity invisibility and social forces. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis explores the three threads of identity, invisibility and social forces in relation to ‘non-traditional’ students undertaking undergraduate study within an ‘HE in FE’ environment. The exploratory nature of the research required an inductive approach and thus the design of the research activity was informed by the principles of classic grounded theory methodology. Loosely structured interviews were used to elicit rich narratives from ten participants across a range of curriculum areas and levels of study. The five conceptual categories of participant ‘biography’, ‘context’, ‘social engagement’, ‘use of technology’, and ‘identity/self’ emerged though analysis of the coded data. Engagement with Lewin’s concept of ‘hodological space’ (Lewin, 1997;1936) and subsequent diagrammatic analysis of the invisible ‘life space’ of each of the participants supported further theoretical analysis of the conceptual categories. This led to the emergence of the three core categories with greatest degree of reported psychic impact, these being ‘biography’, ‘context’ and ‘identity/self’. Analysis of the properties within the category of ‘identity/self’ brought to the fore the importance of the reported role identities of participants, with a focus on ‘identity standard’ (Burke & Stets, 2009) and ‘identity salience’ (Stryker, 2008; 2002). The study, in engaging with these issues of identity, makes critical reference to recent policy documents, research reports and peer reviewed research, making an original contribution to knowledge through the subsequent foregrounding and potential impact of invisible or psychic social forces on the expectations, perceptions and actions of undergraduates studying within college based higher education.

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Thesis (PhD)
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22 Nov 2013 13:13
Last Modified:
22 Apr 2024 23:26