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Title: An investigation of identity formation of Chinese doctoral students in the UK
Author: Ye, Lily Lei
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 1611
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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This project aims to investigate the identity formation of 11 Chinese doctoral students at two British universities in the context of studying abroad against the backdrop of late modernity. Through the participants' biographical narratives, this thesis explores the impact of intercultural experience on self-identity. It seeks to understand phenomena by applying Giddens (1991) theoretical framework on self-identity, reflexivity and agency, which is supplemented by using Bourdieu's theory of practice and his concepts of habitus and capital (Bourdieu, 1977). Identity is considered as a reflexively organised endeavour, which involves the maintaining of coherent, yet continuously revised, biographical narratives. The methodology of the study is broadly constructionist and interpretive. A narrative methodology was used to analyse and present qualitative primary data gathered from narratives through focus groups and semi-structured interviews on my participants' perceptions, experiences and themselves in relation to culture, language and identity. Both narrative and thematic analyses were adopted to interpret the raw data. Accounts of students' experience and perceptions were jointly constructed by the participants and the researcher. Issues of reflexivity were addressed throughout the study to enhance rigour of the research. Emergent themes were explored to understand how individuals reflexively create and maintain their self interpreted biographical narratives, in which their self-identity is constructed. Three main themes were identified from participants' comments, perceptions and narratives: lifestyle choices and life planning; intercultural adaptation (coping with new environment); and the impact of studying abroad. Each main theme was divided into several sub-themes. The findings suggest that participants built their identity around claims related to choice, agency, interculturality, reflexivity, resilience, personal growth and self-development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available