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Title: National identity in a postcolonial society : a Foucauldian discourse analysis of Pakistan's national curriculum textbooks and their social practices in schools for shaping students' national belonging
Author: Qazi, Habib
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 6513
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis investigates factors that contribute to constituting Pakistan's post-colonial national identity of high–school students, studying in six state-schools located in Islamabad, Pakistan. It draws on two sets of data – compulsory textbooks for grades 9-12, and the field-research data collected from the students of the same grades, using participatory tools and focus-group interviews. Taking a holistic view, the study also conducted interviews with teachers and observed school sites to investigate their roles in shaping students' national belonging. The study of the textbooks offers an insight into the themes which Pakistan's education–system–actors employ for positioning students within Pakistani nationalism, and the field–data those of teachers' and students' self–positioning vis–à–vis these. The analytical framework of this phenomenological qualitative study is based on Foucault's Discourse Analysis and his notions of technologies of power and self for the subject constitution. The study also appropriates insight from a postcolonial theoretical perspective. The findings suggest ideological use of the school-education where the textbooks represent Islam as Pakistan's overarching national identity, encourage students to view Pakistan's national language, religious–minorities and women through a particular Islamic lens, and consider India as an existentialist threat to Pakistan. The study notes the dynamic interplay of the sampled textbooks, the schoolteachers and the school as a site of discursive social practices. Jointly, they position students within (a) a homogenous singular Islamic national group in love with Urdu (b) gendered female identity and (c) Indian centric militaristic national identity for shaping their national belonging to Pakistan. The study notes participating students' strong identification with the above-identified themes delineating ‘us' and ‘them' exclusively on the religious basis while disregarding indigenous languages and cultures, exuding a gendered approach towards women and relishing strong antagonistic Indian centric national identity. This education might well foster self–righteousness, a distorted world-view and an exclusionary approach towards women, religious–minorities and pluralistic identities/cultures. Also, it entails implications for students' social and psychological wellbeing, their social inclusion, women empowerment, national cohesion, international peaceful co-existence and several global sustainable development goals (SDGs), 2030.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: National Identity ; Postcolonial Society ; Pakistan's National Curriculum Textbooks ; Thesis