Indefinite. Restriction lift date: 10000-01-01
The geographies of encounter: investigating the spatiality and construction of 'meaningful' encounters with difference through the experiences of international students at University College Cork, Ireland
University College Cork
The purpose of this research is to investigate how international students negotiate encounters with Irish students and construct ‘meaning’ from those encounters in the spaces of the university and city. As cities are increasingly characterised by a multiplexity of diversity, the issue of living with difference is becoming more and more pertinent. In the wake of escalating socio-spatial polarisation, inter-cultural tension, racism, and xenophobia, the geographies of encounter seek to untangle the interactions that occur in the quotidian activities and spaces of everyday life to determine whether such encounters might reduce prejudice, antipathy and indifference and establish common social bonds (Amin 2002; Valentine 2008). Thus far, the literature has investigated a number of sites of encounter; public space, the home, neighbourhoods, schools, sports clubs, public transport, cafes and libraries (Wilson 2011; Schuermans 2013; Hemming 2011; Neal and Vincent 2011; Mayblin, Valentine and Anderrson 2015; Laurier and Philo 2006; Valentine and Sadgrove 2013; Harris, Valentine and Piekut 2014; Fincher and Iveson 2008). While these spaces produce a range of outcomes, the literature remains frustrated by a lack of clarity of what constitutes a ‘meaningful’ encounter and how such encounters might be planned for. Drawing on survey and interview data with full-time international students at University College Cork, Ireland, this study contributes to understanding how encounters are shaped by the construction and reproduction of particular identities in particular spaces, imbuing spaces with uneven power frameworks that produce diverse outcomes. Rather than identifying a singular ‘meaningful’ outcome of encounter as a potential panacea to the issues of exclusion and oppression, the contention here is to recognise a range of outcomes that are created by individuals in a range of ways. To define one outcome of encounter as ‘meaningful’ is to overlook the scale of intensity of diverse interactions and the multiplicity of ways in which people learn to live with difference.
Encounter , Inter-cultural interaction , Urban geography , Social inclusion , Social exclusion , International students
O'Connor, S. 2016. The geographies of encounter: investigating the spatiality and construction of 'meaningful' encounters with difference through the experiences of international students at University College Cork, Ireland. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.