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Title:Everyday Challenges of Building Community and Empowerment: An Ethnographic Study of Immigrant Mexican Parents Advocating for School Reform
Author(s):Reyes Cruz, Mariolga
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rappaport, Julian
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Abstract:The present critical ethnography narrates the experiences of undocumented Mexican immigrant parents working to make schools responsive and accountable to Latino American children and families in a small Midwestern city. The study is based on a four-year long participant-observation project in schools and other community settings where Latino American parents come into contact with each other and other members of their children's school. The parents who are the focus of the study perform many of the behaviors typically understood as "effective" parent involvement (e.g., reading to their children, attending parent-teacher conferences, volunteering in school and bringing concerns to teachers). However, they do not believe the local public schools are preparing their children well for life and are publicly advocating for school reform. In the process, power struggles, knowledge-claim battles and a generalized colonial mentality conspire to silence the parents' basic claims for respect, dignity and their children's rights. Their efforts take place in a racially divided city where a community of working-poor Latino American immigrants is arguably forming. The experiences and perspectives of the parents are narrated from a critical perspective: within the social context in which their efforts take place, with an eye for understanding how power is played out in the reproduction and contestation of social inequalities and how empowerment processes interface with building a collective sense of community. Ethnographic field notes and qualitative interviews provide the main sources of data.
Issue Date:2005
Description:280 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3202161
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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