Generating Benefits and Negotiating Tensions through an International Doctoral Forum: A Sociological Analysis

Guanglun Michael Mu, Ning Jia, Yongbin Hu, Hilary Hughes, Xiaobo Shi, Muchu zhang, Jennifer Alford, Merilyn G Carter, Jillian Fox, Jennifer Duke, Matthew Flynn, Huanhuan Xia
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 063-085
Workshops and seminars are widely-used forms of doctoral training. However, research with a particular focus on these forms of doctoral training is sporadic in the literature. There is little, if any, such research concerning the international context and participants’ own voices. Mindful of these lacunae in the literature, we write the current paper as a group of participants in one of a series of doctoral forums co-organised annually by Beijing Normal University, China and Queensland University of Technology, Australia. The paper voices our own experiences of participation in the doctoral forum. Data were drawn from reflections, journals, and group discussions of all 12 student and academic participants. These qualitative data were organised and analysed through Bourdieu’s notions of capital and field. Findings indicate that the doctoral forum created enabling and challenging social fields where participants accrued and exchanged various forms of capital and negotiated transient and complex power relations. In this respect, the sociological framework used provides a distinctive theoretical tool to conceptualise and analyse the benefits and tensions of participation in the doctoral forum. Knowledge built and lessons learned through our paper will provide implications and recommendations for future planning of, and participation in, the doctoral forum series and similar activities elsewhere.
International doctoral forum, Bourdieu, capital, field, power relations, autobiography
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