Space and Identity Construction

A Study of Female Singaporean Undergraduates in the UK

  • Alysia Wee London School of Economics and Political Science
Keywords: international students, women, race, space, identity, Singaporean

Abstract

This article explores the significance of space in international student identity formation, focusing specifically on the experiences of female Singaporean undergraduate students in the UK. By examining three spatial scales (public, institutional, and room spaces), this article employs a mixed methods approach to investigate how identity is spatially situated and spatially performed. Findings indicate that public and institutional spaces shape students’ feelings of Otherness, racial hypervisibility, and individual invisibility. Students’ strategies for resisting negative identities also differ across these spaces. On the other hand, room spaces and their objects and layouts are agentically used by participants to perform their identities to others and themselves. Thus, this article highlights the importance of the spatial dimension in producing a nuanced understanding of international student identity formation.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Alysia Wee, London School of Economics and Political Science

ALYSIA WEE is currently a master’s student in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests include social and cultural geographies, postcolonialism, and the body.

References

Ahmed, S. (2000). Strange encounters: embodied others in post-coloniality. London: Routledge.

Alexander, C., & Knowles, C. (Eds.). (2005). Introduction. In Making race matter: bodies, space and identity (pp. 1–16). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Andrade, M. (2009). The effects of English language proficiency on adjustment to university life. International Multilingual Research Journal, 3(1), 16–34. doi: 10.1080/19313150802668249

Bachelard, G. (2014). The poetics of space. New York: Penguin Press.

Bergold, J., & Thomas, S. (2012). Participatory research methods: A methodological approach in motion. Historical Social Research, 37(4), 191–222. doi: 10.17169/fqs-13.1.1801

Blaikie, N. (1993). Approaches to social enquiry. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Palo Alto, C.A.: Stanford University Press.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Britton, M. (2008). “My regular spot”: Race and territory in urban public space. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 37(4), 442–468. doi: 10.1177/0891241607309883

Bryman, A. (2004). Social research methods (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chow, K., & Healey, M. (2008). Place attachment and place identity: First-year undergraduates making the transition from home to university. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28(2), 362–372. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2008.02.011.

Conradson, D., & McKay, D. (2007). Translocal subjectivities: Mobility, connection, emotion. Mobilities, 2(2), 167–174. doi: 10.1080/17450100701381524

Cresswell, T. (2004). Place: A short introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.

Croghan, R., Griffin, C., Hunter, J., & Phoenix, A. (2008). Young people’s constructions of self: Notes on the use and analysis of the photo-elicitation methods. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 11(4), 345–356.

David, M., & Sutton, C. (2011). Social research: An introduction. London: Sage.

Fanon, F. (1986). Black skin, white masks. London: Pluto Press.

Farrugia, D. (2014). Towards a spatialised youth sociology: The rural and urban in times of change. Journal of Youth Studies, 17(3), 293–307. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2013.830700

Fielding, N., & Thomas, H. (2008). Qualitative interviewing. In N. Gilbert (Ed.), Researching social life (3rd ed.; pp. 245–266). London: Sage.

Gargano, T. (2012). Grounded identities, transient lives: The emergence of international student voices in an era of cosmopolitan learning. Journal of International Students, 2(2), 144–156.

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Oxford: Polity Press.

Goffman, E. (1956). The presentation of self in everyday life. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums. Garden City, NY: Doubleday-Anchor.

Green, E., & Singleton, C. (2006). Risky bodies at leisure: Young women negotiating space and place. Sociology, 40(5), 853–871. doi: 10.1177/0038038506067510

Hall, S. (1997). Race: A floating signifier. Retrieved from http://www.mediaed.org/transcripts/Stuart-Hall-Race-the-Floating-Signifier-Transcript.pdf

Harwood, S. A., Mendenhall, R., Lee, S. S., Riopelle, C., & Huntt, M. B. (2018). Everyday racism in integrated spaces: Mapping the experiences of students of color at a diversifying predominantly white institution. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(5), 1245–1259. doi: 10.1080/24694452.2017.1419122

Hastings, A., & Matthews, P. (2015). Bourdieu and the big society: Empowering the powerful in public service provision? Policy and Politics, 43(4), 545–560. doi: 10.1332/030557314X14080105693951.

Higher Education Statistics Agency. (2017, January 12). Higher education student enrolments and qualifications obtained at higher education providers in the United Kingdom 2015/16. Retrieved from https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/12-01-2017/sfr242-student-enrolments-and-qualifications

Higher Education Statistics Agency. (2019, January 17). Higher education student statistics: UK, 2017/18. Retrieved from https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/17-01-2019/sb252-higher-education-student-statistics

Hetherington, K. (1998). Expressions of identity: Space, performance, politics. London: Sage.

Holsti, O. R. (1969). Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Harlow: Addison-Wesley.

Holton, M., & Riley, M. (2013). Student geographies: Exploring the diverse geographies of students and Higher Education. Geography Compass, 7(1), 61–74. doi: 10.1111/gec3.12013

Holton, M., & Riley, M. (2016). Student geographies and homemaking: Personal belonging(s) and identities. Social and Cultural Geography, 17(5), 623–645. doi: 10.1080/14649365.2015.1126626

Houshmand, S., Spanierman, L. B., & Tafarodi, R.W. (2014). Excluded and avoided: Racial microaggressions targeting Asian international students in Canada. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(3), 377–388. doi: 10.1037/a0035404

Hsieh, M. H. (2006). Identity negotiation among female Chinese international students in second-language higher education. College Student Journal, 40(4), 870–884.

Hurdley, R. (2006). Dismantling mantelpieces: Narrating identities and materializing culture in the home. Sociology, 40(4), 717–733. doi: 10.1177/0038038506065157

Inglis, D., & Thorpe, C. (2012). An invitation to social theory. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Inwood, J. F., & Martin, D.G. (2008). Whitewash: White privilege and racialized landscapes at the University of Georgia. Social and Cultural Geography, 9(4), 373–395. doi: 10.1080/14649360802033882

Jung, E., Hecht, M. L., & Wadsworth, B. C. (2007). The role of identity in international students’ psychological well-being in the United States: A model of depression level, identity gaps, discrimination, and acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(5), 605–624. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2007.04.001

Kamara, A. (2017). International students and “the presentation of self” across cultures. Journal of International Students, 7(2), 291–310.

Kipfer, S. (2007). Fanon and space: Colonization, urbanisation, and liberation from the colonial to the global city. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25(4), 701–726. doi: 10.1068/dkipfer

Lawler, S. (2013). Identity: Sociological perspectives (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Lee, J. (2005). Issues in constituting Asian-Canadian feminisms. In T. Hellwig & S. Thobani (Eds.), Asian women: Interconnections (pp. 21–46). Toronto: Women’s Press.

Lee, J., Jon, J. E., & Byun, K. (2017). Neo-racism and neonationalism within East Asia: The experiences of international students in South Korea. Journal of Studies in International Education, 21(2), 136–155. doi: 10.1177/1028315316669903

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.

Lewis, A. (2016). Making meaning of race and racialization in the lives of five international graduate students. In K. Bista & C. Foster (Eds.), Exploring the social and academic experiences of international students in higher education institutions (pp. 59–78). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Lewis, J. A., Mendenhall, R., Harwood, S. A., & Huntt, M.B. (2013). Coping with gendered racial microaggressions among black women college students. Journal of African American Studies, 17(1), 51–73. doi: 10.1007/s12111-012-9219-0

Mallett, S. (2004). Understanding home: A critical review of the literature. Sociological Review, 52(1), 62–89.

Malpas, J. E. (1999). Place and experience: A philosophical topography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Manzo, L. C. (2003). Beyond house and haven: Toward a revisioning of emotional relationships with places. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23(1), 47–61. doi: 10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00074-9

Manzo, L. C. (2005). For better or worse: Exploring multiple dimensions of place meaning. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25(1), 67–86. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2005.01.002

Marcoux, J. S. (1999). The refurbishment of memory. In D. Miller (Ed.), Home possessions: Material culture behind closed doors (pp.69–87). Oxford: Berg.

Massey, D. (1985). New directions in space. In D. Gregory & J. Urry (Eds.), Social relations and spatial structure (pp. 9–20). Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Matthews, B., & Ross, L. (2010). Research methods: A practical guide for the social sciences. Essex: Pearson.

Molinsky, A. (2007). Cross-cultural code-switching: The psychological challenges of adapting behavior in foreign cultural interactions. The Academy of Management Review, 32(2), 622–640. doi: 10.2307/20159318.

Montgomery, C. (2010). Understanding the international student experience. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Office for National Statistics. (2012, December 11). Ethnicity and national identity in England and Wales: 2011. Retrieved from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/ethnicity/

articles/ethnicityandnationalidentityinenglandandwales/2012-12-11

Parker, D. (2000). The Chinese takeaway and the diasporic habitus: Space, time and power geometries. In B. Hesse (Ed.), Un/settled multiculturalisms: Diasporas, entanglements, transruptions (pp. 73–96). London: Zed.

Patton, M. Q. (2005). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pile, S., & Keith, M. (Eds.). (1993). Place and the politics of identity. London: Routledge.

Plummer, K. (2001). Documents of Life 2: An introduction to a critical humanism. London: Sage.

Pratt, G., & Hanson, S. (1994). Geography and the construction of difference. Gender, Place and Culture, 1(1), 5–29. doi: 10.1080/09663699408721198

Puwar, N. (2004). Space invaders: Race, gender and bodies out of place. Oxford: Berg.

Pyne, K. B., & Means, D. R. (2013). Underrepresented and in/visible: A Hispanic first-generation student’s narratives of college. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 6(3), 186–198.

Reay, D. (1995). “They employ cleaners to do that”: Habitus in the primary classroom. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 16(3), 353–371. doi: 10.1080/0142569950160305.

Reinharz, S. (1992). Feminist methods in social research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., & Elam, G. (2003). Designing and selecting samples. In J. Lewis & J. Ritchie (Eds.), Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (pp. 77–108). London: Sage.

Ritter, Z. S. (2016). Globalization of racism: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean international students’ racial stereotypes and experiences with cross-racial interactions. In K. Bista & C. Foster (Eds.), Exploring the social and academic experiences of international students in higher education institutions (pp. 132–155). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Rose, G. (1995). Place and identity: A sense of place. In D. Massey & P. Jess (Eds.), A place in the world (pp. 87–132). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rose, G. (2008). Using photographs as illustrations in human geography. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 32(1), 151–160. doi: 10.1080/03098260601082230

Rose-Redwood, C. A., & Rose-Redwood, R. (2013). Self-segregation or global mixing? Social interactions and the international student experience. Journal of College Student Development, 54(4), 413–429.

Sarantakos, S. (2005). Social research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Shome, R. (2003). Space Matters: The Power and Practice of Space. Communication Theory, 13(1), 39-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2003.tb00281.x

Singapore Department of Statistics. (2016). Population trends 2016. Singapore: Author.

Soja, E. (1989). Postmodern geographies: the reassertion of space in critical social theory. London: Verso.

Stewart, D.L. (2008). Being all of me: Black students negotiating multiple identities. Journal of Higher Education, 79(2), 183–207. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2008.11772091

Sue, D. W., Bucceri, J. M., Lin, A. I., Nadal, K. L., & Torino, G. C. (2007). Racial microaggressions and the Asian American experience. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(1), 72–81. doi: 10.1037/1099-9809.13.1.72.

Swann, W. B., Jr., & Bosson, J. K. (2008). Identity negotiation: A theory of self and social interaction. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 448–471). New York: The Guilford Press.

Tananuraksakul, N. (2012). Non-native English students’ linguistic and cultural challenges in Australia. Journal of International Students, 2(1), 107–115.

Taylor, S. (2010). Narratives of identity and place. London: Routledge.

Thomas, M. E. (2005). “I think it’s just natural”: The spatiality of racial segregation at a U.S. high school. Environment and Planning A, 37, 1233–1248. doi: 10.1068/a37209

Ting-Toomey, S. (2005). Identity negotiation theory: Crossing cultural boundaries. In W. B. Gudykunst (Ed.), Theorizing about intercultural communication (pp. 211–233). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Tonkiss, F. (2005). Space, the city and social theory: Social relations and urban forms. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Tuan, Y. F. (1977). Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Veninga, C. (2009). Fitting in: The embodied politics of race in Seattle’s desegregated schools. Social and Cultural Geography, 10(2), 107–129. doi: 10.1080/14649360802652103

Wiley, N. (1994). The politics of identity in American history. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Social theory and the politics of identity (pp. 130–149). Oxford: Blackwell.

Yeo, H., Mendenhall, R., Harwood, S., & Huntt, M. B. (2019). Asian international student and Asian American student: Mistaken identity and racial microaggressions. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 44–70. doi: 10.32674/jis.v9i1.278

Zaharna, R. S. (1989). Self-shock: The double-binding challenge of identity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 13, 501–525. doi: 10.1016/0147-1767(89)90026-6

Published
2019-05-15
How to Cite
Wee, A. (2019). Space and Identity Construction. Journal of International Students, 9(2), 384-411. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i2.643
Section
Research Articles