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Dr Phiona Stanley


Phiona Stanley

Associate Professor

Currently on university-wide secondment as Head of Research (Research Culture), tasked with developing research culture including support for Early Career Academics.

My research is all about mobilities and on how people engage in 'intercultural' settings in the broadest sense: heterogeneous assemblages of humans, non-humans, and artefacts. This includes research on working abroad, intercultural education, and tourism, particularly outdoors sport/leisure/mobilities. My theoretical paradigm is critical, which is to say that I'm particularly focused on how power relations operate in these spaces, and I'm a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). I'm also very interested in innovative ways of doing, writing, and teaching qualitative research methods, including narrative storytelling and evocative and creative writing within academic texts.

My doctoral research won both the Monash University Medal and the IEAA (International Education Association of Australia) postgraduate award. To date, I have published five books (three sole-authored monographs and two edited anthologies) and around thirty peer-reviewed articles. My first degree was in Politics (University of Edinburgh), my Masters was in Education (University of Sydney), and my PhD was an ethnographic study of transnational identities (Monash University, with fieldwork conducted among British and North American expatriates in Shanghai, China).

My most recent book, out in 2022, focuses on how cultural normativity frames lived experience. It is a feminist narrative about the social rules of obedience and acquiescence to the cultural rules --embodiment, heteronormativity, partnering-- and about fitting in, or not, with those narratives. Central is the question of who is --and who is not-- socially 'legible' and seen as 'legitimate' within outdoors/adventure tourism , and how social status works in such spaces; these operate as microcosms of how social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion work more broadly. Here's an excerpt:

I'm a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and I've won awards for my postgrad and undergrad teaching. I'm originally from Edinburgh and from 2004 to 2018 I worked in Australia, most recently as a Senior Lecturer (2012-2018) at UNSW in Sydney, where I mainly taught postgraduate courses, including a popular qualitative methods Masters course and a series of PhD methods workshops. I've supervised eight doctoral students to completion (see the 'postgrad' tab above) and I've been an external PhD examiner for ten different universities in the UK and Australia. Here at Edinburgh Napier, I lead a big, first-year, core module that focuses on interculturality in business, sport, tourism, and other settings.


Stanley, P. (2022). An Autoethnography of Fitting In: On Spinsterhood, Fatness, and Backpacker Tourism. Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley, P. (2020). (Ed.) Critical Autoethnography and Intercultural Learning: Emerging Voices. Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley, P. & Vass, G. (2018). (Eds.) Questions of culture in autoethnography. Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley P. (2017). A critical auto/ethnography of learning Spanish: Intercultural competence on the 'gringo trail'? Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley P. (2013). A critical ethnography of 'Westerners' teaching English in China: Shanghaied in Shanghai. Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley, P. (2023, accepted 24 Jan). Solo trails/trials for this unlikely hiker: Purpose, purity, and quest. In A. Grant & E. Lloyd-Parkes (Eds) Meaningful Journeys: Autoethnographies of Quest and Identity Transformation (to be published in 2024). Abingdon & New York: Routledge.

Wight, A. C. & Stanley, P. (2022, accepted 27 Nov). Holocaust heritage digilantism on Instagram. Tourism Recreation Research.

Stanley, P. (2022). An autoethnography of making it in academia: Writing an ECR journey of Facebook, assemblage, affect, and the outdoors. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography,

Stanley, P. (2022). Scottish Highlands campervan mobilities in pandemic times: Enclosures. Journal of Autoethnography 3(3): 398-401.

Stanley, P., Clarke, D. W., Murray, F., & Wyatt, J. (2022). The fires we made, the fires that made us: Introducing the Forum. (Editorial). Journal of Autoethnography 3(3): 381-387.

Stanley, P. (2020). Problematizing “Activism”: Medical Volunteer Tourism in Central America, Local Resistance, and Academic Activism. In International Review of Qualitative Research.

Stanley, P. (2020). Walking home: An autoethnography of hiking, identity, and (de)colonization. In A. Herrmann (Ed). The Routledge International Handbook of Organizational Autoethnography (pp339-350). Abingdon & New York: Routledge.

Stanley, P. (2019). Unlikely hikers? Activism, Instagram, and the queer mobilities of fat hikers, women hiking alone, and hikers of colour. Mobilities 15/2: 241-256.

Stanley, P. (2019). Crafting a DIY campervan and crafting embodied, gendered identity performances in a hyper-masculine environment. Art Research International 4(1): 351-380.

Stanley, P. (2019). Ethnography and autoethnography in ELT research: Querying the axiomatic. In Gao X (ed.), International handbook of English language teaching (second edition). New York: Springer.

Stanley, P. (2018). Walking to heal or walking to heel? Contesting cultural narratives about fat women who hike and camp alone. In Questions of Culture in Autoethnography, Routledge: Abingdon & New York.

Stanley, P & Vass, G. (2018). On the difficulties of writing about culture in autoethnography. In Questions of Culture in Autoethnography, Routledge.

Stanley, P. (2017). Review of Liz Ellis's book 'The plurilingual TESOL teacher: The hidden language lives of TESOL teachers and why they matter. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 40, pp. 339 - 342.

Stanley, P. (2017). The two cultures in Australian ELICOS: Industry managers respond to teachers. English Australia Journal.

Stanley, P. & Stevenson, M. (2017). Making sense of not making sense: Novice English-language teacher talk. Linguistics and Education, vol. 38, pp. 1 - 10.

Zapata-Sepúlveda, P., Stanley, P., Ramírez-Pereira, M., & Espinoza-Lobos, M. (2016). The travelling researchers’ sisterhood: Four female voices from Latin America in a collaborative autoethnography. Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 16, pp. 251 - 262.

Stanley P, 2016, 'Must the (Western) Hydra be Blond(e)? Performing Cultural 'Authenticity' in Intercultural Education', in Bunce P; Phillipson R; Rapatahana V; Tupas R (ed.), Why English? Confronting the hydra. Multilingual Matters, pp. 93 - 105.
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Stanley P, 2016, ''Passing' and 'failing' in Latin America: Methodological reflections on linguacultural identities', in Emerald E; Rinehart RE; Garcia A (ed.), Global South ethnographies: Minding the senses, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp. 185 - 196.
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Stanley P, 2016, 'Economy class? Lived experiences and career trajectories of English-language teachers in Australia', in Haworth P; Craig C (ed.), The career trajectories of English language teachers, Symposium Books, Oxford, pp. 185 - 199.
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Stanley P, 2015, 'Writing the PhD Journey(s): An Autoethnography of Zine-Writing, Angst, Embodiment, and Backpacker Travels', Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, vol. 44, pp. 143 - 168.
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Stanley P, 2015, 'Theorising the cultural borderlands: Imag(in)ing "Them" and "Us"', in Brown J; Johnson NF (ed.), Children's images of identity: Drawing the self and the other, Ed. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, pp. 1 - 13.
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Stanley P, 2015, 'Talking to Strangers: Learning Spanish by Using It', in Nunan D; Richards JC (ed.), Language learning beyond the classroom. Routledge, pp. 244 - 252.
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Canagarajah, A S ;Stanley P, 2015, 'Ethical considerations in Language Policy Research', in F M Hult; D C Johnson (ed.), Research Methods in Language Policy and Planning: A Practical Guide, Wiley Blackwell, pp. 33 - 44.
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Stanley P, 2014, 'Language-learner Tourists in Australia: Problematizing 'The Known' and its Impact on Interculturality', in Resistance to the Known: Counter-Conduct in Language Education, pp. 23 - 46.
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Stanley P, 2014, 'Telling stories: Theorizing narrative sensemaking as introspective research method', in Jill Brown's Navigating International Academia: Research Student Narratives, pp. 5 - 16.
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Stanley P, Murray N, 2013, ''Qualified'? A framework for comparing ELT teacher preparation courses', Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 36, pp. 102 - 115.
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Stanley P, 2013, 'Lessons from China: Understanding what Chinese students want', English Australia Journal, vol. 28, pp. 38 - 52.
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Stanley P, 2012, 'Superheroes in Shanghai: constructing transnational Western men's identities', Gender Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, vol. 19, pp. 213 - 231.
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Stanley P, 2012, 'Multiculturalism with Chinese characteristics', in Hernandez L (ed.), China and the West, edn. 1, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, UK, pp. 73 - 92.

Stanley P, 2011, Review of Anwei Feng's book: 'English language education across Greater China', Language, Culture, and Curriculum, vol. 24, pp. 303 - 306.
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Stanley P, 2011, 'The hidden curriculum: A critical analysis of tertiary English teaching in China', in Ryan J (ed.), China's Higher Education Reform and Internationalisation, Routledge, Abingdon & New York.

Stanley P, 2011, 'Performing foreigners: Attributed and appropriated roles and identities of Westerners teaching English in Shanghai', in Lobo M; Marotta V; Oke N (ed.), Intercultural Relations in a Global World, edn. Common Ground, Champaign, IL.

Stanley P, 2011, 'Meeting in the middle? intercultural adaptation in tertairy oral English', in Lin J; Cortazzi M (ed.), Researching Chinese learners: skills, perceptions and intercultural adaptations, edn. 1st ed., Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, pp. 93 - 118.

Stanley, P. (2008). ‘The foreign teacher is an idiot’: Symbolic interactionism, and assumptions about language and language teaching in China. Linguistics and the Human Sciences 4/1.
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