Voices of isolation and marginalisation – An investigation into the PhD experience in tourism studies. By: Bettinson, Emma; Haven-Tang, Claire. International Journal of Management Education (Elsevier Science). Nov2021, Vol. 19 Issue 3

This paper examines the challenges presented by the PhD journey in the internationalised environment of UK Higher Education and gives voice to the experiences of students. It focuses particularly on the issue of isolation and marginalisation. Through semi-structured interviews with students and supervisors at three institutions, it reveals that social interaction, lack of academic community and the individualised nature of the supervisory relationship are key factors in feelings of isolation. In addition, findings suggest that academic discourse and the maintenance of academic conventions and hierarchy exacerbate feelings of marginalisation. The paper offers important insights for universities regarding the management and support of doctoral students and suggestions to improve their experience, thereby enhancing the appeal of the UK doctorate.

  • A discourse of deficit and othering surrounds international PhD students.
  • Home and international PhD students share many of the same feelings during their journeys.
  • PhD students are isolated by each other and the system.
  • Hidden power in academia leaves PhD students feeling marginalised.
  • Academic discourse and conventions are an important mechanism of power in academia.