Multiculturalism as a "technology of othering": An exploratory study of the social construction of Native Americans by student affairs professionals in the Southwest
AuthorMcClellan, George S.
AdvisorWoodard, Dudley B., Jr.
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 dissertation reports on an exploratory study conducted to better understand the social construction of Native Americans by new student affairs professionals in the Southwest and the ways in which professional socialization experiences impacts on that construction. Data were generated from interviews with student affairs professionals at institutions in the Southwest with significant Native American enrollments. Data were also generated from the professionals' graduate preparation program web sites and from the journals and conferences of two student affairs professional associations. Native Americans were constructed by professionals as coming from isolated, impoverished reservations where they lived a traditional lifestyle. Native students were seen as struggling to succeed as a result of culture shock and deficits including alcohol issues, different styles of communication, and different senses of time. The aspiration of Native students who graduate was believed to be returning to the reservation. References to Native Americans were rare in graduate program web sites reviewed and limited to the sites of two programs at institutions with significant Native enrollments. Interview data indicated discussion of Native Americans in graduate courses was very limited. Two programs, both with several Native American students enrolled in them, included more substantial discussion of Native Americans. References to Native Americans in the associations' journals and conferences were not uncommon but few articles or conference sessions focused substantially on Native Americans. The professionals interviewed had relatively modest knowledge of Native Americans and almost no knowledge of indigenous-based resources upon which to draw in working with Native students. However, student affairs professionals interviewed felt qualified to work with students who are Native American based on the professionals' cultural sensitivity, a shared sense of in group experiences, and the belief that knowledge of theories for other minority groups or minority groups in general would suffice. Data generated during the interviews indicated diversity and multiculturalism were absent from performance reviews and would enter into reviews on when there were problems. Professionals participating in the study constructed multiculturalism as a quality to be imbued in students and institutions for reasons of social justice and the marketplace.
Degree ProgramGraduate College