Reynolds, Cheryl (2018) Digital Hiatus: Symbolic violence in an online social learning network for master's level students at a UK University. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This is a narrative inquiry in which I asked six master's level students at a University in the North of England to reflect on their experience of using social media as the learning platform for part of a taught module. I was motivated by the growing ubiquity of such approaches in higher education and by the need to develop rational, just and sustainable online pedagogies that are alert to both the opportunities and threats of this shift in medium. My research questions, framed from a Bourdieusian perspective were:

- To what extent is symbolic violence evident within a social learning network for master's level students at a UK University?
- What forms does such symbolic violence take and how are these forms affected by the medium?
- What kinds of dispositions, abilities and assets constitute and confer capital in this setting?

In answering these questions, I trace symbolic violence in the online exchanges between participants and in the consequences of those exchanges. I develop an index of digital capital to describe the dispositions, abilities and assets that they needed to profit from learning in this way, along with a notion of digital hiatus to describe what happened when they lacked such capital. At the same time, I acknowledge the positive impacts of this approach on some of the participants.

I locate this research within the literature on social media use for education and more specifically within the subset of that literature that uses Bourdieu's ideas to explore digital inequality. I also locate it within the institutional context of a post-1992 UK university, the national policy context and the economic context for the growing use of technology in Education. I conclude by reviewing the benefits and limitations of the methodology and theoretical frameworks adopted and by considering the potential uses of my index of digital capital, identifying how this might be explored in future studies.

Cheryl Reynolds FINAL THESIS.PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email