Archive for the ‘My Learning Journey’ Category

British Education Studies Association Conference

February 20th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

Call for papers: British Education Studies Association Conference

Glasgow, June 26-27 June

Glasgow University cc Venana

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract as a contribution to this important conference. This year the conference takes place in the University of Glasgow, making it the first time the conference has been held in Scotland. The key theme of this year’s conference is: “The politics of education studies: pedagogy, curriculum, policy”

Some of the suggested topics for papers are the following:

• Alternative voices in Education Studies

• Innovations in Education Studies

• Education Studies: Contemporary debates

• Researching Education Studies: critical issues

• Student perspectives on Education Studies

Please note this list is not exhaustive.


Abstracts for the conference should be no longer than 400 words, and include:

  1. a clear description of the aims and objectives of your inquiry
  2. the methodology and methods employed
  3. results and key conclusions.

You can submit an abstract by following this link: SUBMITTING AN ABSTRACT

NOTE: You must log in or register on the  site to be able to submit an abstract – you will have this opportunity when you visit the above page.

The Submission deadline is Friday 28th February, 2014.

Please contact if you wish to discus your abstract before submission

The habitus of digital scholars

February 14th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

The first paper coming out from my PhD has just been published by the the Journal of Research in Learning Technology, 21(0).


I’m actually quite excited about it and I have blogged about it here. (I’ll talk more about the Social Theory Applied project I have just joined in a very near future post)

The article concerns the Participatory Web and the impact it has on academic researchers’ perceptions of digital scholarship practices. The Participatory Web, as a space of active involvement, presence and socialisation of knowledge, has the potential to introduce significant changes to scholarly practice and to diversify it. This article draws on the findings of a narrative inquiry study that investigated the habitus of 10 digital scholars. The study uses Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and social and cultural capital as a research lens. One of the main findings to come out of the study was that research participants’ approaches to digital scholarship practices are highly influenced by their online social capital, the online networks that influence their thinking and outlook on scholarly practices, including their advocacy of openness and transparency of academic practice. This article concludes by highlighting the dispositions digital scholars display in an attempt to characterise the values and beliefs that underpin their scholarly practices.

What’s been interesting in writing this article, is that, as it often happens, my thinking has already moved on from where I was when I wrote my PhD. This resulted in a more refined approach regarding how I used Weller’s concept of digital Scholarship and Bourdieu’s thinking tools. I hope you enjoy reading the article and I look forward to a fruitful discussion. That’s the only way we can move forward this debate.

What Bourdieu would say about the web

February 14th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

CC Rockcreek

Bourdieu passed away just as the web was starting to emerge as a social phenomenon worthy of our attention. As a new space for socialisation and participation, Bourdieu would have had a lot to say about the web. That is not to say that he would have painted a rosy picture of it. He would have probably been as indignant as ever of the appropriation of its potential to less altruistic purposes.

Bourdieu was very tough in his essays On Television, particularly where the journalistic field was concerned. His main concern was that television, and tele-journalism in particular, were taking away the monopoly of the instruments of cultural diffusion from its main cultural producers, i.e, artist, writers, scholars, philosophers, newspaper journalists… “the official thinkers”. Bourdieu described a manipulative television that imposed a particular vision of the political field onto its audience, thus depriving them of intellectual debate. In this vein, Bourdieu tried to make a stand against television turning into an instrument of symbolic oppression, when it could, in his opinion, “have become an extraordinary instrument of direct democracy”.

It is almost impossible not to notice that Bourdieu felt that same symbolic oppression hard in the flesh, as television grew more influential on the masses, without him – or any other intellectual for that matter – having full control of that instrument of cultural production. Indeed, Part One of On Television starts with a reflection on that very same issue, with Bourdieu admitting that what follows are two lectures recorded by the audiovisual services of the College de France, which gives him full control of the medium. And so Bourdieu admits, even if implicitly, that his critique of television is not only based on the ways it manipulates its audience (based on external factors that are at stake and the internal rules that are created to answer to those external demands); but also founded on intellectuals’ lack of control of the medium; an issue that affects him personally, and the work of academics in particular.

I would like to believe that Bourdieu would have enjoyed some of the affordances the web has offered us as cultural producers a bit more than he did appreciate television, although – it has to be said – he would probably have been as critical of it as he was of television as a medium of diffusion. The issue, however, is that the web  cannot be solely regarded as a medium of diffusion, but rather as a medium of multi-way communication; a platform where individuals can congregate to discuss and create new knowledge, without necessarily being “professional cultural producers”. This is obviously the short and rosy interpretation of the web, and one that Bourdieu would probably have not been so fond of. Firstly, because a field needs to be regarded in relation to its social agents and the different types of capital that matter in that field. Secondly, and probably more surprisingly, because – basing my judgement on his ideas expressed On Television – the web blurs boundaries and allows individuals to proclaim themselves as culture producers, and that can also jeopardise the work of academics. And so, if Bourdieu thought that television manipulated intellectual input by forcing a single view of reality onto its audience, would he have agreed with the web as a space of social encounters where the freedom of thought and debate can be exercised without any restrictions? I am tempted to say he would have not.

What is curious to me, however, is that via On Television, Bourdieu does portray a more biased view of the topic he is reporting on than we were use to in previous writings and reflections. And so I wonder if that is so  because he felt television weakened his professional authority as he was not fully in control of the medium?

A close read of On Television, tells me that Bourdieu would have, most likely, been skeptical of the web because it allows a shift of power and entitlement that would have affected him directly… probably more than he would have liked. On reflection, I am not sure if he would have championed the web as an instrument of direct democracy.

  • TV

The post What Bourdieu would say about the web appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

Fieldwork: understanding the habitus of digital scholars

February 5th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

The post Fieldwork: understanding the habitus of digital scholars appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

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    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.

    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”

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