An investigation into concepts of personhood and equity, with specific reference to mixed race women in post-compulsory education
Despite the prevalence of mixed race people in Britain and in Further Education, the study of mixed race identity remains an under-researched area, and little or no research appears to have been done on mixed race identity in relation to the Further Education sector. By bringing mixed race to the forefront of discussion, this PhD thesis endeavours to open up a space for interrogating some much vaunted concepts of personhood and equity evident in the theoretical literature on identity and in education policy. The thesis explores how normative theories and discourses underlying political and cultural constructions of personhood and equity are represented in a selection of recent UK post compulsory education policy texts, and uses the case of -10 mixed-race women studying in Further Education colleges in Inner London to identify similarities and discrepancies between theory, policy and experience. The empirical investigation involves policy analysis and semi-structured interviews with mixed race women. Discourse analysis and content analysis are the main methods used to analyse the data. The theories and discourses of personhood and equity identified in the literature and the policy documents are compared with the discourses articulated by the respondents on their constructions of self, their experiences of education, and on their opinions on government/education policy discourses. The thesis seeks to contribute to ongoing debates around identity and equality, and to provide some insights which may be helpful in moving us beyond the universalist/relativist impasse towards a concept of personhood in which identifies may be recognised simultaneously as 'fixed' and as 'fluid'. It also hopes to provide a useful source for sociologists and education policy makers in working towards more equitable policy in the field of education.