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Title: First-generation African Caribbean women pursuing learning in the third age and beyond : an emancipatory role for lifelong learning in community settings?
Author: Etienne, Jan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 4964
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the benefits of lifelong learning and employs narrative inquiry as a key methodological tool to assess the value of learning in later years for black Caribbean women who came to Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s with the expectation of a better life. The study engages with black feminist epistemology (Collins, 2000; hooks, 2001; Hudson-Weems, 2004) to explore social and cultural identities brought to learning, illustrating solidarity in Caribbean sisterhood as the women find ways to rise above past and current oppression. The research examines the nature of learning for a category of women who are living at a time when being black, female and older is often associated with deteriorating health, poverty and isolation and challenges those who might argue that in urban areas, older minority populations have little to offer. Lifelong learning has been studied in a variety of ways and diverse research has examined its nature (Coffield, 1997, Field, 2000), its significant benefits (Schuller, 2001); its role in an ageing society (McNair, 2007, Withnall, 2000, Aldridge and Tuckett, 2001, Soulsby, 1999, McGivney, 1999), and in addressing class and gender divides (Jackson, 2004). However, limited empirical research exists exploring lifelong learning and minority ethnic communities and this study therefore seeks to make an important contribution in this area. The context for the research is located within the wider, largely economic debates into lifelong learning and often conflicting government rhetoric in the UK. It is set against a backdrop of shifting policies and diminishing resources for widening participation and adult learning and acknowledges the global challenge of an ageing society. Through contemporary narrative inquiry embedded primarily in the works of, Clandinin (2007) and Chase (2005), the study draws on the narratives of 102 older African Caribbean women, exploring the social and political dimensions of lifelong learning, alongside the individual benefits, and questions the extent to which their learning also benefits their wider communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available