Date of Award

5-10-2017

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

James Ainsworth

Second Advisor

Jung Ha Kim

Third Advisor

Anthony Hatch

Abstract

The education system is an important tool in the process of racial construction and the maintenance of racial structures in society. In contemporary education, student’s racial identities are mostly being constructed through their cultural differences rather than biology. While sociology of education research reveals that racially stigmatized groups learn these culturally associated meanings and identities through interactions with teachers and peers, what has not been addressed is how students also learn these features from the formalized curriculum endorsed by the state itself. This gap in the literature is now given consideration in this dissertation which pinpoints this racial meaning making process by focusing on how state citizenship textbooks teach race via an understudied cultural attribute – students’ emotions. Specifically, this study examined Jamaican citizenship textbooks during 1994 – 2006. These textbooks targeted low-income black students to enable them to cultivate particular feelings towards national interests deemed critical during this period; including the tourism industry and the experiences of the national hero, Marcus Garvey. Examining the emotions invoked in these books provided a unique opportunity to study how collective identities such as race are constructed, since emotions can signal membership in a particular social group. Applying theoretical insights from racial formation, sociology of emotion and hidden curriculum research, I argue that state citizenship education is a racial project that uses emotions in these textbooks to construct particular black identities and meanings of blackness. Using discourse historical approach methodology, I reveal how the Jamaican state’s emotion norm discourses about these national interests taught black students not only the proper ways to feel about these interests, as citizens; but also taught them about their racial identities. Results revealed that the emotion norm discourses in these textbooks positioned target readers in racialized roles and emotions that limited how they should think, act and feel, especially as it relates to the tourism industry. These findings suggest that black students were possibly being socialized to cultivate a cognitive template for future and contemporary unequal emotional work. Thus, adhering to racialized emotion norms can have the effect of perpetuating and cementing unequal racial structuring in society in general.

Available for download on Tuesday, January 08, 2019

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