Institutional Scholarship

Closing the Opportunity Gap, or Creating a New Opportunity? Navigational Capital, Racialization, and Resistance in the Context of Neoliberal Multicultural Education

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dc.contributor.advisor Willie-LeBreton, Sarah
dc.contributor.author Prior, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned 2018-12-03T16:37:16Z
dc.date.available 2018-12-03T16:37:16Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/20487
dc.description.abstract Historically, public schooling in America has disenfranchised students of color, evaluating these youth by their confonnity to or defiance of the nonns for curriculum and conduct dictated by the dominant white middle class. Synthesizing Bourdieu's (1986) realization of academic qualifications as cultural capital with Robinson's (1983) emphasis on the racial dynamics of this schematic, students of color can either pursue upward mobility within the existing political and economic structure by practicing identities of racelessness (Tatum 1997) or manifest their resistance through oppositional identities (Ogbu 1998; Ferguson 2000), with the discrepant material and social outcomes of each choice serving to legitimize the racial hierarchy of larger society. Presently, public schooling has adapted a paradigm of neoliberal multiculturalism that acknowledges racial difference as benign variation, without regard for the institutional and economic inequities that result from and reinforce racial discourse, and that looks to dehistoricize race by conceptualizing conflict as a matter of individual psychology (Mohanty 2003). Moreover, though neoliberal multiculturalism ostensibly offers a pedagogy with culturally responsive content and methods, it nonetheless adheres to hegemonic nonns for knowledge and behavior, espousing navigational capital (Yosso 2005) for the agency of individual students of color within the existing structure rather than proposing social change. Thus, or education to work towards racial justice, a critical pedagogy geared towards deconstructing race and devising activist praxis is in order. Yet, in order to subvert the status quo, campaigns for critical pedagogy must work within the state - which inevitably influences social movements (Weldon 2011) - to create spaces that redefine cultural citizenship and challenge racial inequities inside and outside of schools. For this purpose, the politically Prior 3 palatable, class-centered rhetoric of opportunity gap represents a proverbial foot in the door, but educators interested in societal transfonnation must be vigilant with regards to the potential for reifying, instead of refonning, the political and economic structure. Therefore, this thesis, through curricular analysis, participant observation, and ethnographic interviews at state-sponsored Growth Mindset Academy - all names are pseudonyms - looks to explore how educators might foster resistant capital (Yosso 2005). Specifically, this work inquires as to what constitutes cultural capital and, by extension, academic qualifications within a framework of neoliberal multiculturalism, how pedagogy and discipline infonn the racialization or racelessness of students of color, and what steps teachers and students can take to transition from Freire's (1970) hierarchical banking model of education to a more collaborative problem-posing pedagogy, in turn revealing to classroom participants the possibilities for different racial understandings and economic systems. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
dc.title Closing the Opportunity Gap, or Creating a New Opportunity? Navigational Capital, Racialization, and Resistance in the Context of Neoliberal Multicultural Education en_US
dc.rights.access No restrictions en_US


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