Advancing student geographies
: habitus, identities and (re)sensing of place

  • Mark Holton

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    A growing body of literature has emerged relating to the geographical mobility and dispersion of University students. This curiosity towards the movements of students originates from ongoing policy reforms in higher education, including the introduction of the post-1992 University, the Labour Government’s target to encourage 50 per cent of school leavers into higher education and the introduction and subsequent increases in tuition fees and neo-liberalisation of the sector. The restructuring outlined above has encouraged greater diversity in the types of students attending University and it is this diversity which this thesis was give attention to.

    This thesis makes four novel contributions to these discussions of student geographies. First, it recognises the influence of the ‘pre-student’ habitus over the decision making process of prospective undergraduates and how this may inform their term-time accommodation trajectories. Second, it highlights the regular transformation of habitus during the degree pathway as students acquire and mobilise the different types of capital required to ‘fit in’ among their peers. Third, it examines notions of how students may [re]sense place as (a) those in more typical accommodation move between different residential locations and (b) those who are home-based re-interpret previously familiar spaces as students. Finally, this thesis identifies how ‘pseudo non-student’ social spaces may influence the identities of final year students, specifically through the gradual dispossession of acquaintances and belongings in preparation for becoming ‘post-students’. In identifying the experiential journey of undergraduates, this thesis synthesises habitus and sense of place which builds during the initial stages of the degree, then ebbs away as students prepare to graduate.
    Date of AwardAug 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorCarol Ekinsmyth (Supervisor) & Liz Twigg (Supervisor)

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