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Title: Constructing the 'student experience' : placing university students in the entrepreneurial city
Author: Pötschulat, Maike
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 6419
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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A better understanding of how groups create a sense of place in the urban environment gives insights into implications of entrepreneurial strategies and divisive cultures there. In this thesis, I study university students who have been conceptualised as a group that is powerful in influencing and shaping their urban surroundings. In particular, I explore how they develop a relationship to the university city via an analysis of the case of Liverpool. By analysing the notion of the 'student experience' as it is employed by the participants of this research, I aim to emphasise the importance of place in learning and practicing what it means to be a student. In this thesis, I adopt a methodological framework from social constructionism and empirical phenomenology building on the understanding that what can be studied about the social world is how it appears to people and how they construct their own realities. In the attempt to get close to the lifeworlds of the students who took part in this research, I employ the methods of autophotography, photo-elicitation and walking interviews to investigate the significance of the urban fabric in which people's practices are embedded in. A frame analysis approach inspired by Erving Goffman is established as a tool to analyse spoken and spatial data in a way that is sensitive to what people do and the layers of meaning in which they make sense of these practices. My analysis suggests that students' relationship to the city is characterised by the enactment of a typification with regard to categorical knowledge of what it means to be a student. The 'student experience' is a social, spatial and aspirational category which students aim to achieve through particular practices and their enactment in specific urban spaces. Students' engagement with the university city is interpreted as a collective practice in which urban space is used as a marker of distinction, not just towards non-student populations but also relative to different cohorts of students. Student culture is characterised by rigid membership criteria contingent on a partial engagement with the university city. Overall, I situate this bounded type of engagement with the city within the context of the university in which different years of study imply changing ways of identifying as students and as such implicate changes in how students use and make sense of urban space.
Supervisor: Jones, Paul ; Sturzaker, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral