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Title: Barriers to Girls' Accessing Primary Schooling in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka: A Critical Ethnography of the Kalmunai Education Zone
Contributor(s): Zulfika, Sithy Fathima (author); Soliman, Izabel (supervisor); Tamatea, Laurence (supervisor); Ware, Helen  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2008
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Abstract: This research project explores the barriers to girls' access to schooling in Sri Lanka. Specifically it comprises a critical ethnographic investigation of those barriers preventing girls accessing primary schooling in the Kalmunai Education Zone (KEZ) in Northeast Sri Lanka. While the study was motivated by concern about the low numbers of girls returning to primary schooling following the Asian Tsunami (2004), it presents an analysis of this outcome that is linked to pre-tsunami social, economic, political and cultural dynamics, including the impact of ethnic tension and war. As a critical ethnography, the research project draws specifically upon the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu, and critical theory in general to identify and examine the range of barriers to girls accessing schooling. The study finds that an extensive and interconnecting range of factors coalesce to construct barriers to girls' schooling in the Kalmunai Education Zone. These factors, which range from specific religious assumptions about 'appropriate' lifestyles choices for girls, to safety and concerns about family economic welfare in conditions of poverty, are discussed in terms of Bourdieu's notions of economic, social and cultural capital. Together these various forms of capital are implicated in the barriers to girls' access to schooling. Analysis of the perceptions of the various stakeholders (the girls, parents, teachers and education officials) of girls' schooling shows that by and large girls' access to primary schooling in the KEZ is constrained by their location within a 'habitus', which largely constructs girls as subordinate to the interests of men. This research project concludes that while this is a dynamic, which has arguably intensified in the post-tsunami context, a comprehensive understanding of the barriers to girls accessing schooling in the post-tsunami context cannot be achieved without also acknowledging the nature of the girls' habitus and the various forms of capital exiting in the pre-tsunami context.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 130308 Gender, Sexuality and Education
169901 Gender Specific Studies
160809 Sociology of Education
Rights Statement: Copyright 2008 - Sithy Fathima Zulfika
Open Access Embargo: 2011-12-08
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Doctoral

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