students in class

Concepts of identity are inextricably linked to how educational processes are performed, experienced, negotiated and valued by all participants involved in the co-construction of knowledge. This area of research encounters a wide variety of forms in which identities are embodied, imagined, performed and owned.

Academic identities, for example, may influence values and practices across broad disciplinary landscapes, or on local scales within institutional micro-cultures. Socially- and culturally-situated identities can influence both educators and learners in terms of how we interpret, define and contest knowledge itself.

Understanding the synergies or tensions between identities may illuminate a range of issues in higher education, from the expectations we have of students to resistance against organisational change. For learners, concepts of identity may be particularly formative and fluid. Exploring identities through deep qualitative analysis can help us to understand and address challenges related to student transitions and progression, diversity and inclusivity, transformative learning, or feelings of community and belonging.

These are all critical issues that have a major influence on learning outcomes, on the student experience and on institutional culture.



WONG, B. & CHIU, Y.L.T. 2017. Let me entertain you: the ambivalent role of university lecturers as educators and performers. Educational Review, 71(2), 218-233. ISSN 1465-3397 doi:

WONG, B. & CHIU, Y.L.T. 2019. ‘Swallow your pride and fear’: The Educational Strategies of High-Achieving Non-Traditional University Students. British Journal of Sociology of Education. doi:

WONG, B. & CHIU, Y.L.T. (2019). Exploring the concept of 'ideal' university student. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079 doi: