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Title: On not speaking 'much' Chinese : identities, cultures and languages of British Chinese pupils
Author: Mau, Ada
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 1790
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the complexity of identities and the everyday negotiations, as well as struggles that shape the lives of British Chinese pupils in England. It focuses on the links between heritage language education, ‘cultures’ and ethnicity. It analyses the ways in which values related to identities, bi/multilingualism and British Chinese pupils’ positions in multicultural British society, are accommodated, negotiated or resisted. In particular, this research looks at British Chinese pupils with limited Chinese language skills, most of whom are from the ‘second/third generation’ within the British Chinese ‘community’. A qualitative approach is employed to understand the experiences of these pupils by exploring their accounts of experiences in mainstream schooling and in (not) learning Chinese, and their perceptions of their positioning as British Chinese in relational, contextual and socially constructed terms. Identity will be understood as a fluid process involving multiple identifications in line with a poststructuralist view, but also as an active process negotiated by social actors under structural forces. Thus, this conception of identity will move away from essentialist accounts of fixed Chinese/British identities and conceive of the individual as having an active and reflexive role in identity construction. The concepts of ‘hybridity’ (Bhabha, 1994) and ‘Orientalism’ (Said, 1978) are used to highlight how the British Chinese pupils are both able to negotiate flexibly their identities but also are confined by certain essentialised, dominant discourses. This thesis argues that there is an emergent British Chinese identity in which young people recognise their flexible and complex, hybridised British Chinese identities, including the possibility of being both British and Chinese. The research contributes to on-going debates on British Chinese young people. The thesis highlights how the new visibility of the British Chinese population brings both risks and opportunities when creating new spaces to allow for the complex and flexible nature of their diverse and shifting identities.
Supervisor: Crozier, Gill ; Race, Richard ; Francis, Becky Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cultural identity ; Language ; Second language