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Title: The role of space in learning : spatio-educational experiences of female students within Emirati Higher Education
Author: Zaidan, Gergana
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 8172
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2015
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This interdisciplinary research examines the intersectional relationship between the domains of space, gender and education. It aims, first, to understand the spatio-educational experience of Emirati female learners; and second, to make it possible to enhance their learning experience by exploring the role of space in learning in a single gender context. This thesis addresses the lack of literature on women’s spatiality and space in learning, specifically in relation to Arab women’s learning in the Gulf region. The research is based on social theories of space including the social construction of space and Lefebvre’s triad of “perceived”, “conceived” and “lived” space, which offers a structure to organise and understand the female students’ spaces, with a focus on how spaces shape and construct the educational milieu while being constructed and appropriated by its users. Methodologically, it follows an interpretivist/constructivist-postmodernist paradigm, applying a unique ethnographic (instrumental case study) qualitative inquiry that incorporates multiple data collection techniques and a ‘multi-zones’ approach to explore in depth the spatial experiences across a network of zones. It also acknowledges the unique positioning of the researcher as both an insider and outsider. Applying thematic analysis with some analysis of spatial positioning led to the emergence of four mega themes and several subthemes that constitute students’ spatiality. Spatiality here is manifested through the combination of: the unique ways Emirati females engaged with and appropriated space, constructing their own private spaces (cocoons) within the public campus space; the ways they perceive and experience the university ‘gendered’ space, including their agency in contesting and negotiating such space; and their rhythms, revealing the types of spaces that emerged under Lefebvre’s triad with specific focus on the emergence of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ spaces. Such spatial themes were strongly influenced by the Emirati females’ unique identity and grounded in their cultural formations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available