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Identity Traps or How Black Students Fail: the interactions between biographical, sub-cultural, and learner identities

By Deborah Youdell


The enduring inequities experienced by African-Caribbean students in UK schools has been well documented. This paper aims to better understand how these inequities have come to be so enduring. Through detailed analyses of data generated through a school ethnography, this paper demonstrates the processes through which African-Caribbean students are identified as undesirable, or even intolerable, learners. The paper builds on the insights offered by earlier school ethnographies while deploying and developing a new theoretical framework. This framework suggests that the discursive practices of students and teachers contribute to the performative constitution of intelligible selves and others. Drawing on this framework, the paper demonstrates how African-Caribbean race and sub-cultural identities, and further intersecting biographical identities including gender and sexuality, are deployed within organisational discourse as evidence of these students? undesirable learner identities

Year: 2003
OAI identifier:

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