Doctoral Students’ Readings of the Politics of University Office Space

Abstract

Over recent years, researchers have paid increasing attention to the built environment of universities. In this article we extend these studies through a consideration of the spatial experiences of particular users: doctoral students. Examining data from a qualitative study conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand, we argue that doctoral students ‘read’ the power relations of campus space. In interviews and written diaries, doctoral researchers connected the current ordering of space to the expansion of neoliberalism within universities, describing how this shaped their study conditions. At the same time, students detailed the various ways in which they sought to re-negotiate these conditions. This article represents an initial exploration of the significance of offices as meaningful learning spaces for doctoral students. We conclude by drawing out implications for university decision-makers and also suggest avenues for further research.

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Correspondence to Sarunwit Promsaka Na Sakonnakron.

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Promsaka Na Sakonnakron, S., Burford, J. Doctoral Students’ Readings of the Politics of University Office Space. NZ J Educ Stud 55, 165–180 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-019-00149-w

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Keywords

  • Doctoral education
  • Space
  • Neoliberalism
  • Offices