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ERIC Number: ED534399
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 217
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-0533-5
"I Am Not Going to Let Anyone Push Me around": Towards a "Thick" Understanding of Desire, Self and Studenthood among Community College Women
Soonachan, Andrea Robin
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Starting with the troubling statistics regarding community college completion rates of under-represented minorities this study sought to analyze how the success or failure of these students is understood within the literature of higher education and the organizational and cultural contexts that shape their experiences. The study's theoretical framework drew on poststructural insights into the workings of identity and discourse. The three key concepts at work in the study are scripts or discourses (for gender, education, etc); desire; and the notion of intelligibility. The study methodology was qualitative. A focal group of women, all enrolled in one urban community college participated in two individual interviews over the course of two college semesters, and selected courses for the research to observe twice in the first of the two semesters. The faculty leading these courses were then interviewed. A second group of women participated in a two-session focus group. The study finds that women draw on scripts of studenthood developed over years in failing urban schools that informs how they conceptualize their college experience. All the women had experience as a "teacher's pet," defined by docility and a perceived affection from their high school teachers. The incompatibility of the expectations for teacher's pets with the expectations of college classrooms led to some of the unintelligibility that the women experienced. The study also finds that broader socio-political discourses, neoliberalism in particular, frame how the women desire professional lives in work that they are passionate about. The women are conscious of their construction as "at risk" due to class and race, but desire the life of the "can do" girl who is fulfilled by career and consumerism. This discourse supported the women in viewing their own studenthood as an individual accomplishment in reaching higher education that also had a broader implication for their community. The study has implications for cultural studies and to future areas of research in higher education and student success. The study calls for greater integration of work on urban secondary schooling into research on college transitions for this population, and for further study of teaching and learning in community college settings. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A