Journey into transnational spaces
: the productions of international students' identity negotiation and its implications for higher education in the UK

  • On Hee Choi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This research explores the theoretical and pedagogical implications of international students’ identity negotiations over transnational digital and physical spaces. In the growing physical and digital mobility of a globalised world, international students show multifaceted and multi-layered identity negotiation. The research focuses on epistemological interpretations of ontological problems that emerge during identity negotiation through the theoretical lenses of Simondon (1989; 2017) and Deleuze and Guattari (2008; 2013).
Grounded on literature about globalisation, space, international students, and identities, three research questions are set out: first, what kind of social practices do international students perform over digital and physical spaces and how do the social practices of international students take place? Second, how do international students’ existing social practices and identities change over time across multiple digital and physical spaces through their identity negotiation? Third, to what extent and in what ways do new identities emerge through international students’ everyday social practices across digital and physical spaces?
Multimodal research methods traced the four participants’ lived experiences over two years and individually tailored data analysis revealed diverse paths of identity negotiations and production of new space and identities. The research findings suggest that international students create their own new space where they concurrently embrace locality and globality. Additionally, new identities such as multimodal cosmopolitanism emerge through lived experiences that resulted from the constant interplay with transnational digital and physical spaces.
This research contributes to forming new ideas in viewing international students’ identity negotiations with new lenses in theory and research methods, in particular, in understanding the specific mechanism of the identity negotiation process and the emergence of new spaces and new identities. Moreover, international students’ vivid voices in the research provide pedagogical implications for educators in planning more inclusive learning and teaching spaces in higher education based on individual singularity. Lastly, the research also raises international students’ awareness of their potentialities and their agency on an individual, social, and global level.
Date of Award26 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorFrances Giampapa (Supervisor) & Helen Manchester (Supervisor)


  • identities in practice
  • Spacetime
  • International students
  • Globalisation
  • Higher education
  • Deleuze and Guattari
  • Simondon
  • Individuation

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