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Self-continuity in migration: Who am I in relation to my cultural past and my cultural future?

Project Description

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Closing date: 14 November 2019
Interviews: 10 December 2019
Start date: January 2020
Bursary p.a: £15,009 for 3 years.
University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors: Dr. Mark Burgess and Prof. Guida de Abreu


“Who am I in relation to my cultural past and my cultural future”? The notion of self and cultural continuity presupposes that individuals must understand that they both change and remain the same through time. People experience life within a network of meanings that provide context for their interpretation of who they are, how they act, and for the identities they hold. Migrating from one culture to another can involve dwelling in a new network of meanings and these can place the individual in situations where they experience uncertainty and discontinuity with their previous self-understanding and identities (O’Sullivan-Lago & Abreu, 2010).

This Ph.D. research will use a first-person theory of self that recognises the extent to which people are social beings (e.g., Hermans’ dialogical-self, Zahavi’s experiential-self). Empirical data will be collected using qualitative methods. The research will investigate experiences where migrants face new horizons of meaning that are at odds with those of their home-culture and that threaten self-continuity. These could include negotiating change from relative-restriction to relative-freedom (e.g. a woman in a cultural patriarchy who moves to an egalitarian community, or an LGBT individual who moves from a non-supportive to a supportive culture). It could also include negotiating change from feelings of relative power to relative powerlessness (e.g., a man previously considered the unquestioned head of the household, or a person with a revered role who is now simply labelled ‘refugee’).

There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6-hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

For further information contact Dr. Mark Burgess

_ Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (knowledge of qualitative methods is essential). EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre_

Funding Notes

How to apply:
Applications should be sent to and should include the following form
(View Website) Applications should include the application form, a CV, copies of degree certificates and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed. Applicants can liaise with Dr Mark Burgess when developing their proposal.

Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.

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