“Look, I have gone through the education system and I have tried damn hard to get to where I am, so no one is gonna stop me!": the educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates

Pennant, April-Louise Modupeola Omowumi Omolara ORCID: 0000-0002-1963-7832 (2020). “Look, I have gone through the education system and I have tried damn hard to get to where I am, so no one is gonna stop me!": the educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

This research critically explores the educational experiences and journeys of 25 diverse Black British women graduates. Grounded in Black Feminist Epistemology and building upon Mirza’s (1992) groundbreaking study, the graduates share their experiential knowledge of journeying through the English education system — from primary school until university. Using semi-structured interviewing and framed by Critical Race Theory and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice, a nuanced picture emerges of the influences of this group’s Black British identities, intersecting with gender, class, ethnicity and cultural background, on their educational trajectories. This research highlights some of the unique challenges encountered by this group — underpinned by antiblack racism — including: their positioning and experiences within different educational institutions; their disconnect from Eurocentric curriculums; alongside internalised pressures impacting upon their mental health. Yet, due to strong obligations to achieving educational ‘success’, individual and collective strategies are utilised to overcome such challenges. Lastly, narrow understandings of educational ‘success,’ based on meritocratic and neoliberal foundations are interrogated. I argue that current understandings fail to acknowledge inherent inequalities within the education system that make it difficult for Black British women graduates to achieve, and that when they do, it often does not yield the same rewards as those enjoyed by their peers.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Kiwan, DinaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Youdell, DeborahUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education, Department of Education and Social Justice
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/10418

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