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Title: Education as capital : educated Bangladeshi immigrant women in 21st century Britain
Author: Mahbub, Rifat
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 6711
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines education within a transnational capital movement framework, investigating the experiences of first-generation educated Bangladeshi immigrant women arriving in Britain between 1999 and 2007. Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of education (1973, 1990 [1977]), his notions of forms of capital (1986), and a feminist perspective on these theories are utilized to explain the interplay of class and gender in educating middle-class Bangladeshi women, the economic and social value of these academic qualifications in migration, and the gendered dimension of social reproduction in their diaspora. In the discussion of Bangladeshi women in Britain, this thesis for the first time deals with educated women from that background (as opposed to the majority Sylheti community that has been the subject of much research). Its primary data are in-depth interviews with twenty-eight highly-educated Bangladeshi women across England. In my methodology chapter I discuss, inter alia, the problematic of researching social equals, and the possibilities and limitations of ‘partial knowledge’ within that context. My in-depth analysis of the narratives around the participants’ family, upbringing, education and gender structure establishes the theoretical relevance of Bourdieu’s concept of education as cultural capital in post-colonial, resource-poor Bangladeshi society. In discussing gender and the internationalization of higher education in this context, I revise Bourdieu’s definition of ‘academic capital’, proposing three main categories that operate in my participants’ lives: namely ‘elite’, ‘standard’ and ‘general’ academic capital. This thesis challenges the argument that human movement and capital movement are similar and equal by analysing the differentiated values of academic qualifications and academic capital in the advanced, neoliberal labour market of Britain where the host country’s specific ‘cultural capital’ is at play. Finally, my thesis extends knowledge about immigrant women’s involvement in the developing diasporic ‘middle class’ with an investigation of these educated Bangladeshi women’s social lives and ‘mother work’ in the framework of social reproduction. This thesis develops an original and new dialogue between skilled migration, the Bangladeshi community in Britain, and the dynamic of gender and social class across borders, inviting further debates within and beyond feminist thoughts around educated middle-class women’s migration and its far-reaching consequences in the contemporary transnational world. Key Words: Education, Capital, Bangladeshi Women, Migration, Gender and Britain.
Supervisor: Griffin, Gabriele Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available