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The negotiation of Chinese migrant parents' social relations and their social status in a Chinese complementary school in Germany

Li-Gottwald, Jiayin (Kitty); (2020) The negotiation of Chinese migrant parents' social relations and their social status in a Chinese complementary school in Germany. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This research aims at revealing the significance of social interactions in relation to the ideas of social status and social capital among first generation migrant Chinese parents at a Chinese complementary school in Germany. The study explores the role of a Chinese complementary school for the parents beyond the education of their children. I take an ethnographic approach in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the parents interaction and social relations in the school setting, which are discussed in relation to the parents socioeconomic backgrounds and individual migrant trajectories. Three distinctive groups emerged during the fieldwork at the school, which I named: the Networkers, the High-Profiles, and the Marginalised, reflecting their social economic status. The data consists of audio-recorded interactions among the parents in the school setting, a series of interviews with key participants and fieldnotes. Drawing on a discourse theoretical approach, I pay close attention to their construction of meaning in the parental interactions at a micro level and at a macro level. The study develops our understanding of the notion of bonding social capital (Putnam, 2000) within the context of complementary schooling by illustrating how strong emotional bond and group solidarity were fostered among the migrant parents. Significantly, the study shows that bonding social capita among three participant groups varied depending on their socioeconomic backgrounds. While the Networkers and the High-Profiles were able to articulate resources and opportunities that emerged during their social interactions to facilitate their involvement with the Chinese complementary school and local Chinese community, the Marginalised were often left out. Similarly, this study also illuminates various approaches towards bridging social capital (Putnam, 2000). Whilst the Networkers and the High-Profiles were much better able to use their social interactions at the school to explore and reinforce their close social contacts with the local German elite, the Marginalised engagement with the host society was largely mediated by their children and associated with their neighbours. In summary, the research strongly suggests that the Chinese complementary school acts as a microcosm of the reproduction of social order and resonates with Bourdieus notion of the class-based nature of social capital. While some of the parents create meaningful networks, mutual support and a sense of group belonging, which have reinforced their social status and engagement with the host society. For other parents, these are less accessible, provide limited benefits and reproduce social inequalities

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The negotiation of Chinese migrant parents' social relations and their social status in a Chinese complementary school in Germany
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
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 - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100871
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