Award Date

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Helen Harper, Co-Chair

Second Committee Member

John S. Butcher, Co-Chair

Third Committee Member

Jian Wang

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn G. Putney

Number of Pages

253

Abstract

The study focused on the narratives of educational experiences of female students of North African heritage in France, and on their success as they see it in the French school system, which states that it is committed to diversity and promoting equal chances among students for academic success in the universities. The study will help to contribute to the growing research on students of immigrant origins and their successes (or lack thereof) in French school systems, asserting a vow to social diversity. I examined the current social educational issues that affect female ethnic minority students in France, as well as issues of religion, gender, immigration and a sense of belonging, self-identity and citizenship, as they emerged within the historical legacy of French colonialism and its influences regarding notions of "the Other." I wanted to understand how the participants come to philosophize themselves, as they introspectively reflect upon and analyze their personal life experiences and influences to conceptualize what has helped to shape their self-identity. The major themes that dominated the women's narratives included volonté (self-will), parents stories, and having "another view" or a broader worldview perspective. Results of the study may provide clearer understanding of the educational and cultural contexts and practices, played out in the participants' daily lived experiences, that are most effective in promoting successful personal attitudes and behaviors. In France today, there are growing tensions as people reconsider what it means to be French. The notion of French identity has been challenged by many things including immigration, consumerism, mass media and France's changing role in Europe and the world. The European French believe they are trying to assimilate and practice tolerance toward different racial and ethnic groups, such as toward North Africans, who come from former colonies, but the size of the Muslim population (more than five million) and the intransigent Islamic religious desire to have young women continue to wear the traditional head scarves in schools, contribute to keeping them a separate part of society. Because the cultural origins (with emphasis on religion) of the second and third generations North African French population defines the gulf between them and the "native" French population, it will be useful to understand the roles and perspectives of those within it. School systems, with affirmed commitments to multiculturalism and social diversity, like in the USA, may find the results of this study informative.

Keywords

Cosmopolitanism; Education and state; Educational equalization; France; French students; Immigrants; Multicultural education; Multiculturalism; North Africans

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education

Language

Language


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