is the PhD a ‘journey’?

An interesting discussion.
I guess I see the point or criticism of the individualistic view of the ‘journey’ metaphor, especially if interpreted in the Pilgrim Progress perspective. But is that the only possible perspective? I doubt.
And I would add that ‘work’ is barely a metaphor, if at all.
I clearly prefer to it the ‘journey metaphor’, which, however, being an Easterner, I have never never interpreted in Bunyan’s individualistic Baptist paradigm. Even if I have lived most of my life in the Baptist fold, and I have turned Anglican lately.


It’s not at all uncommon for doctoral researchers to think about the PhD as a journey. And they generally use the PhD-as-journey as more than a simple metaphor – it becomes a, even THE way of explaining to other people what has and is going on in their candidature. The PhD-as-journey becomes a way of telling self and others the story of the PhD process and the various experiences, emotions, and challenges along the way. The notion of the journey sums up the sense of movement, personal growth and change. The journey becomes a meaningful way of narrativising the ups and downs of the whole doctoral experience.

But how good a metaphor is it really? As Christina Hughes and Malcolm Tight (2013) have pointed out, the journey is a pretty vague concept. There are various kinds of possible journeys, some pleasant some not. Hughes and Tight suggest that the most…

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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