Master Narratives and Counter-Narratives: An Analysis of Mexican American Life Stories of Oppression and Resistance Along the Journeys to the Doctorate
AuthorEspino, Michelle M
AdvisorLee, Jenny J.
Committee ChairLee, Jenny J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study focused on the testimonios [life narratives] of 33 Mexican American Ph.D.s who successfully navigated educational systems and obtained their doctorates in a variety of disciplines at 15 universities across the United States. The theoretical and methodological frameworks employed were critical race theory (CRT), Latina/o critical race theory (LatCrit), and narrative analysis in order to examine power relations, multiple forms of oppression, and the intersections of race, social class, and gender within educational contexts. CRT and LatCrit frameworks were expanded by attending to the experiences of middle class participants and participants who identified as second- or third-generation college students, which challenge traditional paradigms that essentialize Mexican American communities. This study uncovered and contextualized the ways that Mexican American Ph.D.s resisted and reproduced power relations, racism, sexism, and classism through master narratives constructed by the dominant culture to justify low rates of Mexican American educational attainment. The findings suggested that as the dominant culture develops master narratives, Mexican American communities reproduce these stories as well. Mexican American communities also crafted counter-narratives that resisted the master narratives. The dominant culture master narratives were: Mexican American families do not value education; Mexican American women are not allowed to get an education; The dominant culture and Mexican American communities reproduce masculinist ideology; If Mexican Americans would work hard enough and persevere, they can succeed in education; The U.S. is a colorblind, gender-blind, and class-blind society; and Mexican Americans are only in college/graduate school because they are minorities. In addition, Mexican American communities constructed two master narratives in an effort to advocate for educational equity and increase research in Mexican American communities: Mexican Americans must struggle through educational systems and Mexican American Ph.D.s should research Mexican American issues. This study provided a venue for narratives on Mexican American educational attainment that reflected struggle and survival, privilege and merit, as well as overcoming obstacles and not finding any barriers along the way. These narratives have the power to reshape, reframe, and transform discourses of deficiency to those of empowerment and resistance in K-12 education, postsecondary education, and graduate school.
Degree ProgramHigher Education