Cross-cultural education: Arab women studying a non-traditional subject

Croke, T. (2007) Cross-cultural education: Arab women studying a non-traditional subject. Ph.D. thesis, University of Kent.

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Abstract

The number of studies being carried out into the lives of Arab women in general and Arab women in education have increased in recent years. There has been little examination, however, of the phenomenon of modern Gulf Arab women and women of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) entering third-level education to study a subject that is considered non-traditional in their culture. This study aims to redress the balance by focusing on women of the UAE, where women have full access to third-level education and government policy stresses the importance of educated women participating in the workforce.

The methodologies used are grounded theory, phenomenology and ethnography. Data was collected through the use of informal interviews and a detailed diary, which was kept throughout the study.

Participants were selected using the theoretical sampling procedure, and collection of data was discontinued when the themes became saturated. Data was analysed using the constant comparative method. All of the women who participated in the study had made two specific choices with regard to their third-level education: to study Visual Communications and to study it through English. This distinction is important to the study because it places these women at the forefront of social change. Their choice to study through English and their choice of course reflects a definite career outlook. These students were aware that these choices meant a very real possibility of pursuing a career in this area, especially as this kind of work could be undertaken from the home.

In all aspects of their lives these students have participated in meaningful discussions that will impact on how they live their lives both now and in the future. This is a very important change and heralds the other changes now taking place in UAE society, on all levels.

This thesis concludes that the stereotype of Arab women as largely ignored, downtrodden, bullied and forced against their will to cover themselves is highly inaccurate. The Western notion of the Arab family as a controlling unit is far too simplistic. The Emirati family structure is complex: no single description can encompass its varieties and specificities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC1401 Women. Girls
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2013 10:40
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 05:29
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12164

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00