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Izzat, intersectionality, and educational journeys: hearing the voices of British Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani (BIP) heritage women

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

This qualitative research, situated within the interpretivist paradigm, draws on educational journey narratives of 31 British women of Bangladeshi (10), Indian (11) and Pakistani (10) (BIP) heritage. It aims to give space to the individual voices of women who have been homogenised, marginalised, and often silenced, within the educational mainframe. All the women whose stories form this thesis had some of their compulsory education within the U.K. As BIP heritage, my own story is included. The narratives were explored using a combined grounded theory, and Bronfenbrenner model (1979) approach which allowed for multiple and layered themes to emerge.
Through unstructured interviews the women explained the complex ways in which they negotiate identity and belonging within ‘white’ eurocentric educational institutions, whilst operating within the patriarchal confines of izzat (loosely translated as honour). Izzat was enforced through the watchful gaze of the baradari (community) and equally, alongside socio –economic status, impacted on how education for girls was viewed, and enabled by families. Education led to the two trajectories of employment and marriage; all three of which, were influenced by the four pillars (agency, attitude, access and knowledge). Educational success enabled better marriage prospects, and I argue is an integral part of the dowry (‘wealth’ given by bride’s family to the groom’s family).
Previous research has used intersectionality to understand disadvantage, such as institutionalised racism and sexism. However using izzat as a facet of intersectionality, to inform understanding of the context within which BIP heritage female students may be operating is new. I argue izzat should be used as a lens to enable practitioners to have more nuanced pastoral conversations. This thesis makes a unique contribution to knowledge and to the educational studies field as it offers valuable insights into how izzat weaves with other dimensions adding to the marginalisation of BIP women.
Original languageEnglish
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Supervisors/Advisors
Award dateAug 2018
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ID: 14317922