22 SES 08 A, Inter- and Transdisciplinary Methodologies for Researching HE (Part 1)
Symposium to be continued in 22 SES 09 A
This paper focuses upon a qualitative, BNIM (Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method) study of ‘knowledge cultures’ (Tsouvalis et al. 2000), everyday acculturation experiences and narratives of internationalisation that are embedded within international student’s biographies at NUI Galway. Particularly in more recent times, a rich store of qualitative studies of international student experiences emerged in the social scientific literature, focusing on international student experiences of studying and living overseas (cf. Sawir et al. 2007; Coate 2009; O’Reilly 2015). The literature illustrates that students actively (re)-negotiate insider/outsider distinctions, discursive conventions and processes of stereotyping and labelling in everyday life, which both shapes and reflects their experiences of studying and living in different nations (cf. Gu 2016). Despite this, qualitative work on international student experiences in Ireland is sparse overall, and internationally, there appears to be few BNIM studies of international student ‘lifescapes’. In this paper however, I argue that the BNIM approach, which elicits intricate details on the ‘lived life’ and inner and outer subjectivities (Wengraf 2001) leads to a conceptually rich understanding of internationalisation as a deeply personal and emotional experience. Throughout this paper, I argue that the conceptual and methodological richness of BNIM (Wengraf 2001) goes ‘deeper’ than other qualitative approaches in capturing how students conceptualise and ‘perform’ internationalisation narratives. These narratives are replete with stories, memories of people and place and ‘knowledge cultures’ that are part of the everyday ‘lifescapes’ of international students, and are intricately linked to how they interpret internationalisation as a lived, social experience. Drawing on the ‘lifescapes’ concept, and focusing on the cultural embeddedness of internationalisation narratives in the ‘habitus’ (Bourdieu 1990) of international students and the organisational culture of universities, I argue that BNIM captures aspects of everyday experiences of internationalisation that may otherwise remain ‘concealed’. Qualitative data revealed in this paper show that international student life stories are imbued with narratives about social interactions and relationships with members of co-national networks, interactions with so-called ‘home’ students and experiences of loneliness, emotional attachments to place and social isolation. In turn, these understandings and practices are central to how international students perform aspects of social identity and how they negotiate membership of different social groups. Overall, it is argued that narrative, BNIM studies of internationalisation offer significant insights for (supra)-national HE policy-making, and for planning and implementing effective services for students in third and fourth level institutes nationally.
Bamberg, M. (2011) ‘Narrative Discourse’ in Chapelle, C.A. (Ed.) The encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell (pp. 1-6) Bourdieu, P. (1990) The Logic of Practice Stanford, California: Stanford University Press Coate, K. (2009) Exploring the Unknown: Levinas and International Students in English Higher Education. Journal of Education Policy. 24(3) Giddens, A. (1985) The Constitution of Society London: Polity Gu, Q. (2016) (Re)-constructing Identities beyond Boundaries: revisiting insider–outsider perspectives in research on international students (pp. 185-205) in Crossley, M., Arthur, L. and McNess, E. (2016) (eds.) Revisiting Insider/Outsider Research in International and Comparative Education Bristol: Symposium Books O’Reilly, A., Hickey, T.M. and Ryan, D. (2015) 'The Experiences of American International Students in a Large Irish University' Journal of International Students, 5 (1): 87-98 Sawir, E., Marginson, S., Deumert, A., Nyland, C. and Ramia, G. (2007) ‘ Loneliness and International Students: An Australian Study’ Journal of Studies in International Education (DOI: 10.1177/1028315307299699, last accessed 15/01/2016). Tsouvalis, J., Seymour, S. and Watkins, C. (2000) ‘Exploring knowledge cultures: Precision Farming, Yield Mapping, and the Expert/Farmer Interface’ Environment and Planning A 32(5): 909-924 Wengraf, T. (2001) Qualitative Research Interviewing London: Sage
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