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Ethnicity and Educational Inequality: An investigation of School Experience in Australia and France

Abstract : This thesis examines the contribution of ‘ethnic' background to the school experiences of educationally and socially disadvantaged students in the senior years of high school (n=927). To investigate the role both of ethnic identification and its interplay with institutional factors, a comparative analysis of secondary student experiences in two national settings was undertaken. The case of Turkish-background students in Australia and France suggests that the influences of ethnic identity are thoroughly transformed from one setting to the other by distinctive pedagogical structures. Streaming and severe academic judgement in France lower academic self-esteem, while creating resentment and social distance between students and teachers. By contrast, the deferral of selection and judgement in Australia allows, temporarily, for a more convivial classroom atmosphere, but fails just as surely to successfully navigate students through the curriculum and achieve academic success. The accommodations of both systems to students in ‘peripheral' locations constitute logics of marginal integration which enable and legitimise ‘exclusion from within'. Student efforts to make meaning of school life through peer cultures which share many similarities across institutional and national boundaries emerge as what I have called strategies of marginal integration. Ethnic-minority students appear to be particularly susceptible to those logics and strategies, which reinforce their position within the system as marginal. This study therefore identifies the difficulties facing both systems as emerging from common overarching structural qualities.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - 9:56:21 AM
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Joel Austin Windle. Ethnicity and Educational Inequality: An investigation of School Experience in Australia and France. Humanities and Social Sciences. Université de Bourgogne; University of Melbourne, 2008. English. ⟨tel-00325698⟩

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