(Un)learning citizenship in Canada : Iranian immigrant youth's silences, contradictions, and expressions

Maryam Nabavi
This study examines the meanings, interpretations, and experiences of citizenship in the lives of young Iranian immigrants in Canada in order to (1) offer a conceptual approach to migrant youth citizenship that fills gaps in dominant conceptualizations of citizenship in Canada, and (2) provide recommendations for the improvement of models of citizenship education relevant to lived experiences of migrant youth. Contemporary conceptions of citizenship in Canada are underpinned by assumptions
more » ... ly aligned with a multicultural national identity and stress formal aspects of citizenship, which undermine substantive aspects of citizenship. Moreover, citizenship education is traditionally conveyed within formal schooling contexts, thereby neglecting the informal processes of learning citizenship for immigrants. To address these weaknesses, this study examines how citizenship is learned within and across diverse informal sites for Iranian immigrant youth. This understanding helps to situate more effective approaches to education that account for culture, locality, and the social, and political contexts in which learners are embedded. In 2010, I conducted a six-month ethnographic study with 12 first-generation immigrant Iranian youths aged 19-30 in Vancouver, Canada. Analysis of semi-structured interviews and participant observation disclosed citizenship as a process of learning within individuals' lived experiences. In-depth engagement with the research findings, informed by concepts associated with cultural studies, diaspora studies, and cultural citizenship, reveal three conceptual commitments that aid understanding of citizenship and learning for citizenship: (1) identity as situated within multiple, shifting, intersecting, and interlocking dimensions; (2) citizenship as situated within multiple constructed boundaries of membership; and (3) citizenship as an iterative process of learning. This inductive framework situates citizenship discourse within the national and global contexts in which immigrant youth are em [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0064644 fatcat:njsq23zoardlxd7kxgygluovii