‘Unveiling’ Complex Identities: An Exploration into the Perspectives and Experiences of South-Asian Girls

By Geeta Ludhra and Deborah Jones.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores the ways in which a group of South-Asian adolescent girls co-construct their identities within home and secondary school contexts (UK secondary schools cater for 11-18 year olds). In exploring the home and school settings, social, cultural, religious and academic dimensions of identities will be explored within a post-structuralist framework.
This work formed the pilot phase of a ‘research focused’ study where eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted across two London-based secondary schools. This paper will consider not only the micro-level analysis of class and school-based interactions but wider influences of race, gender, sexuality and power and the ways in which South-Asian girls negotiate their identities and position themselves in relation to these.
Within the UK context, widely held public discourses exist regarding South-Asian girls which portray them as a homogenous group lacking individuality and the power to be active members of the families and societies in which they exist. This research therefore aims to both acknowledge and deconstruct such stereotypes.
The paper will specifically discuss the themes of: family, friendships, sexuality and clothing. Finally, the paper will consider the implications of this study for further research.

Keywords: South-Asian Girls, Identities, Culture, Secondary School

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp.615-628. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.281MB).

Geeta Ludhra

Course Leader for Primary Education/ English Lecturer, Education, Brunel University, London, UK

Geeta Ludhra is a lecturer in Education at Brunel University, West London. Presently she leads the Initial Teacher Training programme for primary education students (those training to teach pupils aged between 5-11 years of age). She has extensive experience of teaching in primary schools and has worked in leading literacy advisory roles within UK local authorities. Her research interests include the development of creative teaching approaches for trainee teachers and the role of speaking, listening and drama for bilingual pupils. Current research is being conducted with British South-Asian adolescent girls to explore how they see their identities and their views of schooling.

Dr. Deborah Jones

Reader in Education, Brunel University, London, UK

Dr. Deborah Jones is a Reader in Education at Brunel University and has taught in a range of UK primary schools. She has worked in various advisory roles within primary education and has run teacher training programmes in both the UK and Hong Kong. She has written extensively on the role of speaking and listening within the primary curriculum and in addition continues to research the experiences of male teachers within the primary school context.

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