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The meaning of being successful: perceptions amongst a selected group of British Indian first degree students

The meaning of being successful: perceptions amongst a selected group of British Indian first degree students
The meaning of being successful: perceptions amongst a selected group of British Indian first degree students
For two decades, the education and career aspirations of British minority ethnic groups has been considered too narrow, unrealistic or over-ambitious. Meanwhile, certain minority ethnic groups’ in England (Indian and Chinese) are commonly referred to as ‘model and successful minorities’ because they persistently qualify for sciences and competitive degree courses (medicine and law) in comparison to other minority groups. Amongst these model minority groups’, British Indians are considered to be ‘over-represented and over-crowded’ on medicine courses and under-represented on others - although there is no conceptualisation of ‘this’ success, or of their attraction to narrow career planning, that has obtained directly from their belief system. Their voices very rarely influence sociological debates about minority ethnic students in England. Drawing on a broad empirical focus on success, and data from 29 qualitative interviews with British medicine and LLB students of Indian ethnic background, this study is amongst the first to offer a complex and nuanced understanding of the decision making processes that underpin British Indian students decisions to apply for medicine and law. Four factors inform their decision-making process; being in the top class; being British born and westernised; age driven goals and British Indian ethnicity driven competition, which arise in three distinct different socio-economic and education background contexts. British Indian medicine students’ expressed a desire for a career or education in a non-medicine or law field, but all had internalized that the British White middle class student/individual have the full privilege of considering the full spectrum of subjects and careers because they considered it the natural and proper group. So, even for those who came from medicine and Russell group backgrounds, the process of strategizing and planning for a career began at the beginning of schooling. The findings reveal a nature and process of middle class strategizing which is shaped by a way of thinking influenced by ethnic identity construction, suggesting a distinct binary within middle class re/production. They contribute to the infant body of knowledge about the challenges that students from model minorities experience to be educationally successful which they normalize as natural. Thus, the research focus afforded a novel perspective explaining why inequality persists in England. The interpretation of the four factors was guided by a Bourdieusian overall social class reproduction theoretical.
University of Southampton
Kang, Jatinder Kaur
86f0ade6-2b41-4ccc-9c74-7564cedd1351
Kang, Jatinder Kaur
86f0ade6-2b41-4ccc-9c74-7564cedd1351
Messiou, Kyriaki
6b3cb19d-a4de-4380-9326-80167b2dda7c

Kang, Jatinder Kaur (2018) The meaning of being successful: perceptions amongst a selected group of British Indian first degree students. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 408pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

For two decades, the education and career aspirations of British minority ethnic groups has been considered too narrow, unrealistic or over-ambitious. Meanwhile, certain minority ethnic groups’ in England (Indian and Chinese) are commonly referred to as ‘model and successful minorities’ because they persistently qualify for sciences and competitive degree courses (medicine and law) in comparison to other minority groups. Amongst these model minority groups’, British Indians are considered to be ‘over-represented and over-crowded’ on medicine courses and under-represented on others - although there is no conceptualisation of ‘this’ success, or of their attraction to narrow career planning, that has obtained directly from their belief system. Their voices very rarely influence sociological debates about minority ethnic students in England. Drawing on a broad empirical focus on success, and data from 29 qualitative interviews with British medicine and LLB students of Indian ethnic background, this study is amongst the first to offer a complex and nuanced understanding of the decision making processes that underpin British Indian students decisions to apply for medicine and law. Four factors inform their decision-making process; being in the top class; being British born and westernised; age driven goals and British Indian ethnicity driven competition, which arise in three distinct different socio-economic and education background contexts. British Indian medicine students’ expressed a desire for a career or education in a non-medicine or law field, but all had internalized that the British White middle class student/individual have the full privilege of considering the full spectrum of subjects and careers because they considered it the natural and proper group. So, even for those who came from medicine and Russell group backgrounds, the process of strategizing and planning for a career began at the beginning of schooling. The findings reveal a nature and process of middle class strategizing which is shaped by a way of thinking influenced by ethnic identity construction, suggesting a distinct binary within middle class re/production. They contribute to the infant body of knowledge about the challenges that students from model minorities experience to be educationally successful which they normalize as natural. Thus, the research focus afforded a novel perspective explaining why inequality persists in England. The interpretation of the four factors was guided by a Bourdieusian overall social class reproduction theoretical.

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JATINDER KAUR KANG FINAL THESIS - Version of Record
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Published date: December 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437669
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437669
PURE UUID: 7bf3324f-54ae-4f64-bc44-b9bcb7aa1c09
ORCID for Kyriaki Messiou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3412-3108

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Feb 2020 17:31
Last modified: 11 Feb 2020 01:33

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Kyriaki Messiou ORCID iD

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