Through resistance and political struggle: The academic success of Latina/o students inside a public flagship university
Velez, Daniel Carlos
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This qualitative study explores how Latina/os recount their experiences and successes (or lack thereof) at a flagship public university. It examines how Latina/os form their identities in relation to their notions of academic success in the college environment, where social dynamics of race/ethnicity, class, and gender operate and intersect. Primarily through one-one-one interviews with use of participant observation and focus group interviews, this study explores how we can understand Latina/o student success through the narratives of 21 Latina/os, to create or develop an alternative theory that helps us retain them in the college environment, despite the negative climate that they navigate. The narratives of Latina/o students enhance our knowledge of how they articulate the factors that serve as motivations and barriers to their academic success. Findings in this study problematize integration theory (Tinto, 1975, 1987) and advance an alternative theory of resistance (Willis, 1977; Ogbu, 1974) for describing how Latina/o students succeed. Findings from this study reveal the ambivalent nature of identity construction (Anzaldúa, 2007; Bhabha, 1990, 1994). They reveal how Latina/os perceive and (re)claim power through the (de)construction of Latina/o panethnic identity.