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Gender, culture and learning: Iranian immigrant women in Canadian higher education

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Abstract:

This article explores the situated meanings of literacy and lifelong learning in the lives of a selected group of first-generation immigrant Iranian women in Canadian institutions of higher education. Drawing from the participants' narratives, the results of this study suggest that, for these women, lifelong learning was greatly influenced by their early socialization experiences and was negotiated in the face of challenges that cross the faultlines of culture, gender, and otherness. Data analysis revealed three major themes: the interconnection between culture and women's perceptions of the value of lifelong learning in their lives; learning and education as a 'gendered' process; and learning as a discourse of empowerment. The results of the study showed that while immigrant women benefited from opportunities in the host country, they also questioned Diasporic Iranian cultural assumptions about literacy, gender, and identity.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02601370801936382

Affiliations: University of Toronto, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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