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Understanding the lived experiences of Black African International Students in England using the lenses of Bourdieu and Critical Race Theory

Zewolde, Solomon Amare; (2020) Understanding the lived experiences of Black African International Students in England using the lenses of Bourdieu and Critical Race Theory. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with issues of how ‘race’, ethnicity and prior education interact with the lived experiences of Black African International students (BAIS) as they live and study in the UK. It explores how their blackness and Africanness as embodied through their skin colour and accent, and the stereotypes about their place of origin, shape their social realities, both in and outside their universities. Using theoretical tools from Bourdieu and Critical Race Theory (CRT), this thesis explores how previous education, along with stereotypical perceptions on the part of peers, institutions, and wider society, position BAIS as racialized Others and shape their lived experiences. A qualitative research methodology in conjunction with a CRT framework is used to explore the stories of 21 BAIS studying in ten universities located in eight English cities. A Bourdieusian and CRT analysis shows that BAIS’s lived experience is a function of the possession of capitals demanded by UK higher education, lower expectations and multiple racialized dominations and exclusions. Being foreign and/or being international mediate access to, and quality of, educational experience in the UK. BAIS face extra adjustment challenges due to infelicitous encounters with the UK field of higher education, which devalues their cultural capital and demands that they possess the capital that it does value. Being black African with prior education in their home countries positions them as lacking outsiders who are admitted to the institutions but not truly included. I found BAIS experience both overt and covert forms of racism and Othering that pervade all aspects of their lived experiences, both inside and outside the university. I conclude that the lived experiences of BAIS in the UK cannot just be explained by possession of, or lack of, the cultural capital demanded by the higher education field, and research and scholarship dealing with BAIS living and studying in the West must of necessity use analytical lenses that foreground race and racism for a just and complete analysis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Understanding the lived experiences of Black African International Students in England using the lenses of Bourdieu and Critical Race Theory
Event: University College London
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093661
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