A positioning analysis of agency in the educational narratives of South Asian mothers and children in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

As ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, South Asian immigrants face challenges when relating to the host society and negotiating with the local languages, values, and customs that were different from their countries of origin. Past studies consistently noted that South Asian children were not able to access full academic, linguistic, and social resources like the local Hong Kong children. To better understand how limited the South Asian families’ agency is amid the wider societal forces, this qualitative study documents the educational narratives of a group of South Asian mothers and their children, paying particular attention to their socialization experiences through multilingual practices and discursive construction of identities. 14 South Asian mothers and children were interviewed in this study. The study found that the South Asian mothers exercised limited agency in socialization with local Chinese resilient agency in their cultural inheritance, whereas idolizing Hong Kong education at the same time. Using positioning analysis as an analytical tool, the study provides discourse-based evidence of agency in the narratives that are widely circulated in South Asian mothers and their children, showing how their agency is exercised differently in the socialization with local Hongkongese and Muslim cultural practices. The study also highlights the role of the interviewer, who plays a crucial role in co-constructing the discursive spaces to allow the participants to construct their positions of themselves and others more dynamically. The study offers a nuanced understanding of the dynamic nature of agency presented across generations and multiple sociocultural phases of the South Asians’ lives. Copyright © 2020 ICGLE.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Citation

Li, Z., & Gu, M. Y. M. (2020, December). A positioning analysis of agency in the educational narratives of South Asian mothers and children in Hong Kong. Paper presented at International Conference on Gender, Language and Education (ICGLE), Hong Kong, China.

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