Mehta, Swati. “Othered by English. Smothered by Spanish?”, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:106717.
Drawing on Collins' (2009) framework on domination and seeing language as a signifier (Bhaba, 1994), this critical ethnography explores the relationship between language and power within the context of a school focused on serving the needs of newcomer immigrant youth in the United States, a country that has increasingly become polarized around issues of immigration, social, and educational policy. Conducting observations in multiple social contexts and informal/semi-structured interviews, the study focuses on six non-Spanish speaking newcomer immigrant youth navigating a particular phenomenon - English and Spanish being dominant languages in their social contexts inside and outside of school. Data were analyzed using guidelines of critical ethnography (Carspecken, 1996). Salient findings include issues of assimilation, meritocracy, and invisibility at the school. The importance of transnational connection, restoration, and accessing social and cultural capital outside of school were also noteworthy. Suggested additions to theorizing work and research with this population as well as critical implications for newcomer schools are also presented.