I'm more Asian here: a study of Asian youth in an elite West Australian boarding school

Wee Yeo

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This thesis is based on twelve months of ethnographic research in St Andrew's School, an elite private all boys’ boarding school in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. It examines the lives and experiences of 44 boarders from Southeast Asia residing in Lewis House during the 2007 school year. For many of the Asian boarders, coming to St Andrew's School was the first time they had resided in a foreign country for an extended period of time. This relocation brought new challenges as they came to terms with living in an unfamiliar host society. Many of them recognised very early that bonding with other individuals who had similar experiences and dispositions was a key strategy in surviving the boarding school. In terms of the social environment, belonging is in large part derived from collective identity based on shared cultural values among the close-knit Asian boarders. Through documenting their lives in the boarding school milieu, this thesis shows that this group identification process was the product of actions undertaken as they positioned and accentuated individual traits. However, this process of seeking group membership was not straightforward as each individual brought along unique and sometimes contradictory values and experiences. This research investigates the ways the Asian boarders identified and accentuated shared qualities for the purpose of seeking group membership. Bourdieu (1977a) used the term 'habitus' to explain how the environment in which people are raised and the conditions of their cultural and material background, shape their attitudes and their capacities to engage people of similar makeup...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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