Politician-Turned-Doctoral Student’s Narrative Identity at an Australian University: A Case Study

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Author: Singhanat Nomnian, Mahidol University, Thailand
Email: snomnian@hotmail.com
Published: September 1, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.2.08

Citation: Nomnian, S. (2017). Politician-Turned-Doctoral Student’s Narrative Identity at an Australian University: A Case Study. IAFOR Journal of Education, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.2.08


Abstract

This study aims to explore the narrative identity of a politician-turned-doctoral student at an Australian university with a particular focus on his academic and social encounters based on his English resources and experiences of learning and living in Australia. This case study is unique in the way that very few Thai politicians would end their political career and join in an academic community because of different philosophies underpinning these political and educational agendas. Drawing upon a narrative inquiry, the 60-year-old former Thai politician who decided to undertake a PhD in Engineering (Water Resources Management) found his academic experience positively challenging as he had to familiarize himself with Australian academic discourse such as conducting research, writing his thesis, and taking part in class discussion. Being a competent user of English, he enjoyed living in a multicultural and multilingual society in Australia. This study offers an optimistic outlook at career change through a lens of a politician who became a doctoral student and serves as an example for adults who are transiting their midlife career path and considering stepping out of their comfort zones to venture into something new and exciting. This study hopes to shed new light and hopes on adult education in an era of aging society.

Keywords

narrative identity, politician, doctoral student, Australian university, adult education