Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

Jacqueline R. Mosselson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John C. Carey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Leda M. Cooks, Ph.D.

Subject Categories

International and Comparative Education

Abstract

Globalization puts into challenge the singular notion of identity and culture. Immigrant parents must navigate multiple cultural systems and constantly redefine their identities in order to cope with a new way of being. This dissertation is aimed at learning about this cultural encounter faced by Bangladeshi immigrant parents living in Western Massachusetts region of the USA. More specifically, I studied immigrant Bangladeshi parents’ identity negotiations, their navigation of transnational spaces, and cultural negotiation in relation to their children’s schooling.

My research is informed by cultural theories of immigration and globalization. Guattari’s concept of ‘existential territory’ (Guattari, 1995, 2000), Appadurai’s ideas of ‘scape’ in explaining the process of globalization (Appadurai, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2002), Hall’s concept of cultural identity (Hall, 1990) and Bhabha’s (1994) idea of cultural hybridity served as theoretical resources for the study. I followed qualitative research approach with a focus on experiential paradigm to learn about the subjective and lived experiences of parents. I used criteria-sampling (Patton, 2002) to select 13 parents from 8 families and conducted genogram construction, in-depth interviews and follow-up interviews with them. I also interviewed 2 family members, 4 adolescent children and 2 community members-all selected based on pre-established criteria.

The findings related to first research question suggested that Bangladeshi parents were open to changes and made intentional choices to interconnect Bangladeshi and U.S. culture as they reconstructed their identities. The second theme discussed how parents navigated transnational spaces. Three physical spaces namely as Western Massachusetts, New York and Bangladesh created a sense of imagined, complex, interconnected homelands as they made sense of their cultural experiences of parenting. Findings related to the third research question revealed that parents showed a complex set of intentional behaviors such as enthusiasm, selectivity, compromise, reluctance and fear as they embraced hopes and opportunities and navigated competing and contradictory cultural demands of their children’s schooling. The central arguments of this dissertation situated parenting as nuance experiences of disjuncture, hope and opportunities where parents navigate culture and identity through intentionality and informed choices to create a newer form of existence in a globalized world.

Share

COinS