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Title: Ethnicity, equality, and education : a study of multilingual education in Nepal
Author: Pradhan, Uma
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 321X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the issue of ethno-linguistic identity through an examination of everyday practices in two mother-tongue schools in Nepal. While language and ethnicity have remained highly politicised subject in Nepal, the everyday cultural politics of language use inside minority language school has received very limited academic attention. In this thesis, I focus on the ways in which different people understand, experience, and interpret mother-tongue education in their everyday life. Drawing on Bourdieu's notion of social field, I argue that mother-tongue instruction not only concerns the introduction of minority languages in education, but also constitutes an 'arena of struggle', where the idea of an 'educated person' is (re)imagined, and the social positions of ethno-linguistic groups are negotiated. To explain this further, I show that minority language education function as a subfield within the larger social field of national education. On the one hand, everyday language practices in the schools display inward-looking characteristics through the everyday use of mother tongue and the construction of unified ethnic identity within the subfield of minority language education. On the other hand, there were outward-looking dynamics of actively engaging with the national education system. The salience of these processes is the simultaneous membership to multiple groups, claims over public spaces and in the spaces of nationalism, hitherto associated with Nepali. Using the idea of 'simultaneity', I show that social actors in minority language education might not necessarily select between subfield and social field, but instead thrive in their tense intersection. In this process, ethno-linguistic groups are able to construct their own subjectivities by negotiating what it means to be educated in a minority language. This emerging narrative of minority language education may help us to understand the issues of language and ethnicity in a more open-ended way and appreciate the multiple scales in which identities are expressed.
Supervisor: Gooptu, Nandini ; Gellner, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education and state--Nepal ; Minorities--Nepal ; Native language and education--Nepal ; Education ; Bilingual--Nepal ; Nepal--Ethnic relations ; Nepal--Social conditions