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Issues in Educational Research, 2023, Vol 33(2), 591-607.
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A student's journey in South African higher education: Positioning and repositioning within a new space

Emma Groenewald
Sol Plaatje University, South Africa

In diverse university contexts, students need to constantly navigate and negotiate their social identities. Students bring their unique embedded histories and cultures to the university context and position and reposition themselves to experience a sense of belonging. These experiences contribute to student self-formation and sense of being. This study explores the positioning and repositioning of a student on a diverse university campus. The positioning theory of Harré (2006) was used as a lens to examine the intentional positioning of one student, including deliberate self-positioning, forced self-positioning, deliberate positioning of others, and forced positioning of others. The study was underpinned by both the interpretivist approach and the social constructivist paradigm. A narrative methodology was used, which involved listening to and analysing the narratives of the participant. Data were generated through reflective exercises and semi-structured interviews over a period of four years. A number of themes were used to present the data, i.e., gender positioning, language positioning, racial positioning, and leadership positioning. The findings illustrate the interconnection between agency, identity, and positionality.
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Author: Dr Emma Groenewald is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, Sol Plaatje University, Kimberley, South Africa. She holds a PhD in philosophy of education. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented papers at national and international conferences. Her research interests are in narrative identity construction and social justice issues in higher education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6342-3145
Email: emma.groenewald@spu.ac.za

Please cite as: Groenewald, E. (2023). A student's journey in South African higher education: Positioning and repositioning within a new space. Issues in Educational Research, 33(2), 591-607. http://www.iier.org.au/iier33/groenewald.pdf

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