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Title: British African Caribbean graduates : narratives of educational journeys and career outcomes
Author: Arbouin, Amanda Dawn
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 8885
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2009
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The contribution of this thesis is to address a distinct gap in the literature by considering the structural trajectory across the domains of compulsory education, post-compulsory education and careers for British African Caribbean graduates. The research explores the educational and career experiences of a group of ten second generation African Caribbeans, described throughout as British African Caribbean (BAC). Each was born and educated entirely within the United Kingdom (UK), where they graduated from a higher education institution (HEI). The theoretical framework draws upon reproduction theory, critical race theory, black feminist theory and the theory of intersectionality to address three key questions:  How do BAC graduates experience the structures of race, class and gender in schooling, higher education (HE) and employment?  What resources do BAC graduates draw upon to navigate these domains and enable their successes?  In what ways do BAC graduates consider it important to contribute their skills and experiences in order to challenge the structures of race, class and gender in British society? The qualitative methodology adopted a life history and narrative approach and the primary data collection was predominantly achieved through a series of semistructured interviews with research participants. This was supported by some quantitative data analysis and an extensive review of the literature on race, class and gender in education and careers. The findings suggest that whereas school experiences were largely about ‘unfulfilled potential’, in higher education (HE) participants developed new strategies and became adept at ‘learning to achieve’. For most, school experiences were plagued by negative racial stereotyping, which manifested itself in low expectations for girls and conflict between peer groups and teachers for boys. Most participants’ journeys ‘en route to HE’ involved serendipity and stepping stones and their main motivations were family expectations, social mobility and pleasure gained through studying. ‘Benevolent BMEs’ and anti-racist practitioners acted as catalysts in post-compulsory education, and in teaching roles they enhanced the HE experience. Although problematic teacher-student relationships were detrimental in school, the ability to use ‘emotional withdrawal’ minimised the negative impact of such relationships in HE. On graduation, many progressed into postgraduate study, where a gender dynamic became apparent in the prevalence of women studying for Master’s degrees. All participants continued into professional careers, predominantly in the public sector. However, careers tended to plateau at an early stage and most felt that their career progress was not commensurate with their education and skills. Consequently, entrepreneurial inclinations emerged as a recurring theme within careers and career aspirations and this was frequently intertwined with a community orientation. The research suggests that the intersection of race, class and gender oppressions continue to have a negative impact on the educational and career prospects of British African Caribbean men and women. Measures to create a more inclusive education system, in terms of staffing, curriculum and student bodies across the board (rather than in ghettoised locations), would effect change in attitudes and thus challenge the insidious nature of these oppressions. The central role of education in all of our lives bestows it with the potential to act as a vehicle of and for change in British society. A key area for further investigation is an evaluation of the benefits of supporting BAC graduates in embarking on community oriented entrepreneurial endeavours, in order to utilise their skills more effectively and build stronger BAC communities, which would go some way to fulfilling the government’s loudly-trumpeted and laudable objective of greater economic and social inclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor