Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Imagining and creating new possibilities for self and society: Narratives of Nepalese university students gone abroad
by Nelson, Kristine, Ed.D., University of San Francisco, 2008, 172; 3317692
Abstract (Summary)

The unstable political, social, and economical situation in Nepal that intensified after the Maoist insurgency began in 1996 has contributed to the outpouring of Nepalese students for higher education abroad. The United States is the preferred destination for these international students, but no research to date explored the experiences of the Nepalese students abroad and the implications of their experiences for these students and for Nepalese society. This research explored the issues of identity, solicitude, and imagination as they relate to Nepalese university students studying in the United States and those who have returned to Nepal to work after completing their studies in the United States.

The research protocol was carried out within the context of a participatory research paradigm that was informed by critical hermeneutic theory as described by Herda (1999). Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative identity and J├╝rgen Habermas' theory of communicative action provided the philosophical foundation. Participants who took part in the research conversations included Nepalese students at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) where there is a large Nepalese student population, former Nepalese SMSU students who returned to Nepal to work as well as Nepalese politicians, academicians, and activists in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The research conversations were conducted in English, recorded, and then transcribed to create a text for analysis. Themes which emerged from the analysis of this text included reflections on political instability and corruption in Nepal, critique and re-imagining of development in Nepal, discussion of caste traditions and calls for change, the promise education holds for social change, and re-interpretations of identity for Nepalese who have lived and studied abroad. Implications for policy and curriculum point towards opportunities for positive change in international education in the United States, civic education in Nepal, and collaboration amongst non-resident Nepalese and resident Nepalese.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Herda, Ellen
School: University of San Francisco
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Social structure, Higher education
Keywords: Critical hermeneutics, Development, International higher education, Narrative identity, Narratives, Nepalese, Nepalese students, Study abroad
Publication Number: 3317692
ISBN: 978-0-549-65727-9
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