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Multilingual gendered identities: female undergraduate students in London talk about heritage languages

By Siân Preece

Abstract

In this paper I explore how a group of female university students, mostly British Asian and in their late teens and early twenties, perform femininities in talk about heritage languages. I argue that analysis of this talk reveals ways in which the participants enact ‘culturally intelligible’ gendered subject positions. This frequently involves negotiating the norms of ‘heteronormativity’, constituting femininity in terms of marriage, motherhood and maintenance of heritage culture and language, and ‘girl power’, constituting femininity in terms of youth, sassiness, glamour and individualism. For these young women, I ask whether higher education can become a site in which they have the opportunities to explore these identifications and examine other ways of imagining the self and what their stories suggest about ‘doing being’ a young British Asian woman in London

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:6060

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Citations

  1. (2004). for discussion of student profile on programme.
  2. (2004). for discussion. Note different pseudonyms for Awino, Biba and Leela.
  3. Preece (2006a) for fuller discussion of Aisha.
  4. (2005). report that the civil war has caused an estimated 64,000 deaths and around one million displaced people since

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