Knowledge in a pluricultural context:
Surfacing doctoral research as the ‘view-from-below’
In the Western academy there is a tendency to devalue non-Western knowledge and ‘Southern knowledge’ is often marginalized or excluded by the dominance of a Western canon of privileged monocultural and monolingual voices whose interpretation and
reinterpretation constructs a field (Connell, 2007, p. 4). Connell notes that social, cultural and linguistic marginalisation does not only happen within the geographic binaries of the North and South but it is embedded in ‘the centre relations in the realm of
knowledge’ (Connell, 2007, p. viii). This is particularly true in the case of knowledge generated by international doctoral students studying in Western universities where their research is seldom constructed as significant or powerful knowledge (Singh & Meng, 2013).
This presentation argues that the marginalised voices of international doctoral students can be revisited as a pluricultural domain where the knowledge generated by their research constitutes what Connell (2007, p.221) calls ‘the view-from-below’. Through an analysis of the UK digital repository EThOS where half a million doctoral theses are housed, this presentation aims to surface a repertoire of pluricultural student voices. Here it is argued that if ‘dominant neo-essentialist theories of culture’ (Holliday, 2010, p. 259) are cast aside, there are ways in which knowledge can be co-constructed across cultural boundaries.