Doctoral writing as an assemblage in space and time

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2 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


This article responds to the question, ‘how do doctoral students experience writing within space and time?’ Whilst existing studies have understood academic writing to be a social and embodied practice, few have considered the material and temporal assemblages that facilitate everyday experiences of academic writing. Working from a new materialist ontological approach, this article draws on photovoice interviews with 11 doctoral students. Using ‘affect’ as the unit of analysis, the article explores the capacity of space, materiality and time to affect, and be affected by, experiences of writing. People, things, environment, and emotion all play a role in this ‘spacetimemattering’ and mean that experiences of writing are not processal, nor homogenous, but rather are ever-shifting assemblages of intra-actions. The article concludes with recommendations that attempt to shift our conceptualisation of doctoral writing, with writing being ultimately critical to doctoral success. In addition, it adds to the emerging literature that applies new materialist theory to studies in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-619
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number5
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s).
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • PhD
  • academic writing
  • affect
  • new materialisms
  • photovoice
  • temporality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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