‘Hybridity, Identities and Inclusion of International PhD Students in England’
This paper draws on a qualitative interview study, which aimed to explore how international PhD students make sense of their experiences of studying in a Russell group University and living in England. Hybridity was narrated as contextual and relational identity performance in response to encounters with difference and was imbued with emotions of loss, confusion, tension and disappointment. Hybridity encompassed a range of identity positions including shifting old identities, blending local and global identities, and re-defining old identities. These positions intersected with students’ constructions and performances of gender, religion, culture, nationality and community and were shaped by international PhD students’ attempts to interact with home students, staff and the wider community, and feel included. Although international students’ attempts to create social capital and negotiate hybrid identities took place within unequal relations of power, they demonstrated intentionality, agency and diversity. Further research is required to critique the homogenisation of international students and unravel multiple inequalities in higher education, which continue to constrain the participation of many groups of students despite popular discourses of internationalization and widening participation.
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