Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Complexity, complicity and community in the classroom and curriculum : identifications with 'ethnicity', 'race' and 'nation' in a British secondary school
Author: Pettigrew, Alice
ISNI:       0000 0001 3486 1245
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis presents ethnographic and interpretative case-study material from 'Kingsland' Secondary School- an inner-city, multi-ethnic, English comprehensive to examine the articulation of 'ethnicity', 'race' and 'nation' in young people's lives. It is framed by twenty-first century challenges to official discourses of national citizenship and by governmental 'Re-imagining Britishness' and 'Community Cohesion' agendas as they impact upon, and can themselves be informed with reference to, the experiences of students and their teachers in school. I question those methodological or analytic frameworks which reproduce 'race', 'ethnicity' and/or 'nation' as categorical entities and instead emphasise process and positionality, using a working definition of 'identity' as 'theorising of self. Kingsland students were invited to reflect upon their own apprehension of the material and discursive structures which influenced or offered explanation in their lives. I document that a variety of 'grouped' identities were awarded situational salience at Kingsland and further, that many were commonly articulated in relation to interdependent 'racialising' and 'ethnicising' discourses operating within the school. Students' overwhelming rhetorical rejection of, yet ambivalent relationship towards, 'Britishness' is also reported and explored. Differentiation between the perspectives articulated by 'white' and 'non-white' students constitutes a central axis ofmy interpretation and analysis. I note an apparent 'cognitive gap' which inhibits 'white'/'majority' students' ability to understand appeals to collective identity made by their 'minoritised' contemporaries. Personal or pronounced engagement with 'race', 'ethnicity' and 'nation' remain deeply problematic and discomfiting for many 'white' students at Kingsland School. I argue that this is symptomatic of a broader dilemmatic tension within their intellectual and political heritage which leads them to adopt temporally and spatially foreshortened frameworks for locating themselves and others in the world. Pedagogical and curricular responses to envisioning a multicultural politics able to confront and engage with contemporary, 'white British' subjectivities are examined in the final chapter of the text. I argue that the experiences of staff and students at Kingsland clearly demonstrate the value of process focused and dialogic educational encounters in supporting young people as they grapple with complex questions of 'belonging', 'community', 'identity' and 'responsibility'. As a researcher, I worked with attention to 'complicity' - here denoting complex interpersonal interdependence - as an important ethical and methodological concern. I suggest that complicity might also function as an appropriate framework for facilitating young Britons' understanding and engagement with multicultural politics, to emphasise the tlttlal constitution of relational identities and of differentiated experience in both contemporary and historical terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available