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Title: Perceptions of Schooling and Career Aspirations of Palestinian High School Students Attending the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) High School in Beirut, Lebanon: Ambivalence and The Reproduction of Palestinian Disadvantage
Contributor(s): Rangi, Richard William  (creator); Tamatea, Laurence M  (supervisor); Takayama, Keita  (supervisor)
Publication Date: 2019
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Abstract/Context: This research project explores Palestinian perceptions of education with regard to its capacity to facilitate desired employment futures. In particular this project investigates the perceptions of internally displaced Palestinian high school students and other education stakeholders associated with or who attended the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) high school located at Area 7, Beirut, Lebanon. This research project used a post-colonial theoretical framework underpinned by Homi Bhabha’s (1994) notion of ambivalence and Edward Said’s (1975) concept of Orientalism to frame and understand the relationship between education and this group of education stakeholders. Located within the broad field of postcolonial studies, the research project methodology was primarily concerned to map the voice of the ‘colonised’ in what comprises a largely colonialist-like context insofar as the presence of a displaced Palestinian is concerned. Research participants in this project provided data in the form of personalised textual accounts that were analysed using principles of Foucauldian macro-level critical discourse analysis (CDA) (Foucault 1982, Fairclough 1995, Hall 1997). This textual analysis specifically focused upon the presence of ambivalence in participant discourse and used Bhabha’s (1994) notion of ambivalence analysis to show how education and desired career pathways are informed by the relationships of power between displaced populations and their host nation. Significantly, analysis of the data drawn from this Palestinian group will show that in the description of education, internally displaced Palestinians seem to reproduce a discourse about the Self, which paradoxically reproduces Lebanese constructions of Palestinian internally displaced persons (IDPs) as unworthy of admittance to full ‘citizenship’, and thus access to equal rights. In the process of highlighting the ‘problem’ as this group of Palestinians see it, the research participants often reproduced – perhaps unwittingly – a range of perspectives on education that ultimately seemed to reinforce the dominant status of the Lebanese host-nation as ‘Master’ and the subordinate (or dominated) status of Palestinians position as ‘Slave’. Drawing upon Homi Bhabha’s (1994) reworking of the ‘classic’ Master-slave dialectic, this research project locates this paradox within a context which is not only colonialist-like, but also grounded in a slave-slave dynamic. Though it might be claimed that Lebanon is indeed a post-colonial context, the analysis of the data strongly suggests that in relation to the opportunities and rights afforded to the displaced Palestinian population, aspects of colonialism continue in this context. In elaborating this argument, this thesis shows that for many internally displaced Palestinians in Lebanon, education comprises a site wherein Palestinian identity is structured if not de-structured. Thus education of this Palestinian population is not simply about buildings and the curriculum, though these remain important. For this group, education is a site intimately linked to the process of Self-construction, which is otherwise grounded in a relationship with the Lebanese host-nation. Following Homi Bhabha’s (1994) model of ambivalence, this thesis not only identifies multiple instances of ambivalence, it accounts for these in terms of movements in the process of Self-other construction. With a focus upon the relationship between subject formation and discourse, three key internally displaced Palestinian discourses are identified; one that explores the positive perceptions and value of education; one that explores the negative perceptions and value of education, and a third discourse which comprises perceptions that explore education as a means of survival. Though at one level these three discourses seem to be different from each other, it is asserted that they all share one key characteristic. Each of these discourses reveals that the Palestinian perception of the value of education in terms of securing desired career futures is mostly if not always elaborated on the grounds of a relationship with the Lebanese host-nation, even if the Lebanese host-nation is otherwise excluded from discussion.
Publication Type: Dataset
Field of Research (FOR): 200211 Postcolonial Studies
160809 Sociology of Education
139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
939903 Equity and Access to Education
Keywords: Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Palestinian Schooling
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
Post Colonial Theory
Location: 151.63845062255857, -30.49217197824867
HERDC Category Description: X Dataset
Description: This dataset relates to the following thesis: "Perceptions of Schooling and Career Aspirations of Palestinian High School Students Attending the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) High School in Beirut, Lebanon: Ambivalence and the Reproduction of Palestinian Disadvantage",
Primary Contact Details: Richard William Rangi -
Dataset Custodian Details: Richard William Rangi -
Appears in Collections:Dataset
School of Education

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