Cultural explanations of school success or failure have often been attributed to minority and/or immigrant groups in the United States. Because differential experiences and school affiliation levels have been observed among different groups of students, scholars have often advanced a relationship between academic achievement/school affiliation and a student's racial or ethnic identity. In this dissertation, I use Armenian high school students as an example to argue that, although past theorists were correct in identifying identity and ethnic identity as important factors in school achievement and affiliation, it is simplistic to treat racial or ethnic groups as unitary and static entities. Using ethnographic research methods, I show that, similar to all communities, there is diversity within the Armenian community across a range of characteristics. I argue, further, that the distinction-making processes and negotiations of identity influenced how Armenians perceived one another along the construct of school affiliation. Given the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of identities, within the same ethnic group, there were students who were perceived to be affiliated with school and those who were perceived to be disaffiliated. Subsequently, these perceptions mattered in whether or not students felt comfortable or able to participate in the community of practice of American public schooling. For example, because affiliation to school was often conflated with assimilation in this country, some sub-groups of Armenians remained in the margins of this community of practice. Constructed identities were calibrated against a perceived white norm, thus leaving some without a sense of belonging in school. In this dissertation, then, I argue that studies of school achievement and affiliation need to consider the nuanced nature of identities, and need to recognize how powerfully the co-construction and negotiation of identities influence the perceptions of school affiliation. These perceptions subsequently shape and influence the lived experiences of students in school, determining whether or not they fare well or fail to succeed.... businessa#39; or maybe theya#39;re really successful where... you know high school is not for everybody so theya#39;re just waiting ... to complete their high school requirements, including the GED (General Education Development) or CHSPE ( Californiaanbsp;...
|Title||:||Constructing Identities, Perceiving Lives: Armenian High School Students' Perceptions of Identity and Education|
|Publisher||:||ProQuest - 2007|