A Part But Apart: Discursive Explorations of the University as Contested Space in Kenya

Ane Turner Johnson, Dawn S. Singleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Despite increasing interest in education and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, little is known about how universities and their constituents experience and make meaning of violence. This paper sought to capture university participants’ sense of belongingness and attachment to the university space resulting from experiences with ethnic conflict in Western Kenya. This paper uses discourse analysis to elicit linguistic constructions of context, contestation, and identity. Three discourses emerged from interview transcripts when treated as text: the regulation of identities, being a part but apart, and campus as contested space. These discourses are characterized by descriptions of perceptions and symbolic norms, belongingness and non-belongingness, and place-work strategies employed by community constituents, both within and without the university. The findings have important implications for understanding the politicization of identity and place in times of conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalDiaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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