Learning the rules of the ‘student game’: Transforming the ‘student habitus’ through [im]mobility
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In recent years, a growing body of literature has emerged concerning the mobilities of students, specifically relating to the interactions between local and non-local students, which can accentuate unequal access to education; social interactions and learner outcomes. Central to much of this literature is a sense that being mobile in institutional choice is the most appropriate and expected approach to successful university life. Conversely, local students, disadvantaged by their age, history, external commitments and immobility, are thought to be unlikely to share the same ‘student experiences’ as their traditional counterparts, leading to feelings of alienation within the student community. This paper will seek to problematise this binary by examining the experiences of a group of local and non-local students studying at the University of Portsmouth using Bourdieu’s reading of habitus and capital. This is useful as it provides a more critical insight into how students’ [dis]advantaged learner identities are [re]produced through their everyday sociability. Moreover, these findings extend previous discussions of first year transitions by questioning the influence of accommodation upon the formation of identities and the initial experiences of ‘being’, or ‘becoming’ students. This paper also seeks to extend previous theoretical tendencies that privilege identity formation through mobility rather than stasis.
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