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What's in a Name? Name Choice, Agency, and Identity

What's in a Name? Name Choice, Agency, and Identity

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Title: What's in a Name? Name Choice, Agency, and Identity
Author: Gellatly, Katherine Patricia Mary
Abstract: This qualitative study addresses name choice among Chinese/Chinese-heritage students at two Ontario universities by asking if identity perception impacts the decision to maintain/change a name and who has agency in these naming choices. Ten out of the 11 participants opted for name change. Six participants attributed English name change to their teachers/education system in China; four asserted full agency in name choice; five were told to choose an English name, but selected their own; and two participants claimed no agency in either change or choice. Based on a grounded theory analysis, social and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1992), Chinese naming habitus within a Canadian field (Bourdieu, 1984), and agency emerged as strong themes. Through these themes, participants’ negotiation of the third space (Bhabha, 1994) became apparent. This study suggests a need for teachers to gain cultural onomastic awareness so as to respect naming choices and agency of students in Canadian classrooms.
Subject: Education
Asian studies
Keywords: Agency
Name choice
Name change
Social capital
Cultural capital
Habitus and field
Third space
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/28249
Supervisor: Krasny, Karen A.
Degree: MEd - Master of Education
Program: Education
Exam date: 2014-08-07
Publish on: 2015-01-26

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