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ESREA 2009 Milan  Conference Poster

CLICK TO details of THE EXCHANGE UNIVERISTY:  Corporatization of Academic Culture -  edited by  Adrienne S.  Chan and Donald Fisher published by UBC PRESS 2008



  • Changing Health Conference June 2010 - Dublin, Ireland
    Oral Paper Presentation at Conference by author, Dr. Adrienne Chan
    Title:  Health and Mental Health Issues for South Asian Families
    s/a Changing Health 2010 :: The 6th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health
  • ESREA Abstract
    - Paper presented at Milano, Italy, March 12-15, 2009
    European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA)   ESREA Life History and Biography Network Conference "Wisdom and knowledge in researching and learning lives:  diversity, differences and commonalities".
    Centro Studi Adul-tità “Ettore Gelpi” Società Umanitaria
    Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca
    Università degli Studi di Siena

Stories of hope: Learning, life, and resistance.

Adrienne S. Chan, PhD.  University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

The pedagogy of hope has been articulated by Freire (1994), whereby hope is defined as an integral and ontological part of education. Engaging with hope is an important issue given the current times of globalization, commercialization, and managerial ideologies that have been imposed on learning institutions. Within this context, the use of biography in research is an important and meaningful process for uncovering stories of hope.

Biographical research may raise unanswered questions, as well as identify painful memories and experiences (West, 1996). However, these memories and experiences can make way for a positive, hopeful journey, and this brings forward a process whereby biographies reveal the complexities of adult learning, adult lives, and the individual challenges that exist within the frame of wider educational and social objectives. Moreover, biographical research implicates the researcher in his/her own personally reflective truth seeking and experiential reconstruction.

As part of a life history, biographical study in higher education in Canada, the objectives of the research were to examine how individuals participate in processes of change and diversity within their institutional environment. The paper examines how personal and social changes are manifested, uncovered, and reconstructed through a reflective research journey. Drawing from individual biographies, the paper considers the ways in which learners are challenged by institutional discourses, and how resistance, hope and ‘moving forwardְ takes place. Interpretations of difference and diversity were at the core of the research. The process of narrative biography was an active process in reconstituting and reflecting a sense of meaning and purpose for individuals who continue to study and work within institutions.

In particular, the paper focuses on the stories of hope through two narrative biographies. The first narrative focuses on an adult learner and a staff member who studies and works in the institution. This story includes the challenges of physical access for people with disabilities in the university -- and is also set in the context of personal family struggles. The second narrative focuses on a teacher and manager who has throughout her life has been an advocate for marginalized women. Her story recounts the ways in which individuals can be politicized at early stages in life, and how that politicization is embedded in personal and professional lives. The paper explores hope from a social and political perspective and the biographies are set in a context of marginalization and access-- using challenge and resistance as tools for change.


  • Freire, P. Pedagogy of hope. 1994. New York: Continuum.
  • West, L. 1996. Beyond fragments. London: Taylor and Francis

  • ESREA Abstract
    - presented at the University of Seville, Spain, December 2008
    European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA), Access, Learning Careers and Identities Network Conference:  Educational Journeys and Changing Lives

Challenging notions of identity in the learning journey: 
Paper session

Adrienne S. Chan, PhD, University of the Fraser Valley
Presented at ESREA, December 2008,
University of Seville, Spain

Racialized and minority populations in Canada are politicized by challenging experiences of schooling on the basis of racial, cultural, and ethnic identity.  These experiences ultimately influence learning processes for adult learners.  Aboriginal peoples have particularly been affected by colonization and the residential school experience.  Issues of racial and cultural identity both inform and influence adult learners who come from racially diverse groups.  For many racial groups, choices about learning, career, and employment are highly influenced by family and educational history.  Issues of empowerment and control often affect personal choices and the opportunities for identity formation.  Identity may also be constructed through hegemonic discourses.  These factors may contribute to a fracturing of personal development and the expectations of the self.  Furthermore, these challenges are often manifested in classroom interactions, institutional practices, and the broader learning journey.

Identity is shaped by how people are recognized and represented, as well as through individual personal and social relations.  Identity raises questions about the ontology of the self, the process of becoming, and the dialectical nature of relationships.  Identity as a construct is difficult and surfaces the precarious relationship between belonging and essentializing.  Identity may also challenge assimilationist notions of ‘fitting inְ within an educational institution.

Racialized groups are often subject to reductionist public, institutional discourses and stereotypes (Henry & Tator, 2002; Jiwani, 2006).  Hall (1992) talks about identity as not being fixed or centred and refers to the acknowledgment of history, language, and culture that produces a contextual background to ethnicity, subjectivity and identity.  While hooks (1990) argues for complexity of identity and radical subjectivity, queer theory challenges fixed notions of identity.  These discourses are exemplified in the lives of adult learners.

This paper describes the experiences of adult learners in different university contexts in Canada.  Drawing from interviews, the paper examines the stories, motives, and challenges of adult learners.  The paper considers empowerment, challenging essentialist notions of identity, and the power of the learning process.  Of interest, are the ways in which universities represent themselves to adult learners, to the public discourse, and the relationship between intended and actual experiences in the universities.  The paper raises questions and implications for teaching and learning in institutions with regard racial diversity and identity in every day practice.  The stories provide examples, challenges, and the uses of ‘resistance’ for self advocacy.


  • Hall, S. (1992). New ethnicities. In: J.Donald and A.Rattansi, eds. 'Race', culture and difference. London: Sage
  • Henry, F., & Tator, C. (2002). Discourses of domination: racial bias in the Canadian English-language press. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press
  • hooks, b. (1990). Yearning: race, gender and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press.
  • Jiwani, Y. (2006). Discourses of denial. Mediations of race, gender, and violence. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

  • IASSW DURBAN Abstract.
    A biennial IASSW congress was held in Durban, South Africa, July 20-24, 2008.  The theme of the congress was:  "Transcending Global-Local Divides". 


Adrienne S. Chan, School of Social Work & Human Services
the University of the Fraser Valley

[formerly known as University College of the Fraser Valley (UCFV) ]

The community where this study took place has a population that is 25% Indo-Canadian, with origins in the Punjab region of India and mostly Sikh religion.  The local child protection authority was concerned that because they knew very little about the dynamics of child protection within this cultural community, responses tended to be crisis oriented and there was little in the way of prevention and early intervention.

There is a need to design a service delivery system that could better meet the needs of this community by being culturally responsive in order to tailor prevention and early intervention services.

UCFV received a grant from the child protection authority to investigate the perceptions of Indo-Canadian families and community leaders in terms of needed services and programs—ones that would be better utilized by the community as the current programs in place were not being fully accessed.  It was determined that very little empirical data on the characteristics of the Indo-Canadian families involved in the formal child welfare system (i.e. had either self-reported or been reported as possible child protection cases) existed.

This paper reports on the findings of a documentary analysis of child protection files.  This is a comparative study of IndoCanadian and nonIndo-Canadian families in terms of demographic, social, family dynamics, safety concerns, and eventual disposition.  Without this kind of analysis as a baseline, there was a concern that services might be developed that did not take into account the possible differences in needs between populations.

Footnotes & See Also References

  • "The International Association of Schools of Social Work, IASSW, is the worldwide association of schools of social work, other tertiary level social work educational programmes, and social work educators..."
    - Presented at Durban, South Africa, July 2008.

  • CASSW Abstract international panel
    - Presented at Canadian Association of Social Work Educators, Toronto, Canada, May 2008
    • "The Social Work National Conference 2008 theme, Human Rights in a Diverse Community, resonates for all sectors of social work - locally, nationally and internationally.
      Human rights are intrinsic in all the work we do in relation to children, women, families and communities; in the pursuit of equality and equity for marginalized and minority groups; and in the struggles for civil rights and basic freedoms, economic well-being, and access to health care and the necessities of life.  Issues of human rights are the foundation of our quest for a sustainable environment as well as international and civil peace. Human rights and human dignity, along with social justice, are two of the primary principles underlying social work ethics." [quote fr.


International education, international social work & social justice
Adrienne S. Chan, Kaillie Kangro and Nancy Larson
University College of the Fraser Valley

Presented at the

Social Work National Conference, Toronto, 2008
Pre-Conference Symposium on International Social Work
Panel 2:  Challenges and Lessons Learned

  [Key words: education, social work, social justice]

Internationalization in universities has become an integral part of the academy in the last twenty years.  International education and international social work operate in accordance with a broad purpose by collaborating with international partners to create global connections and communities.  This presentation examines the role of international education and international social within a social justice framework.  How do the activities of international work relate to the goals of social justice?  What critical discussions take place within priorities of collaborative research, academic and disciplinary considerations, partnerships with community and business, and increased commercialization of international activities?

Drawing from work over the past year (SSHRCC grant), the presentation considers information and data collected from a number of universities across Canada that are engaged in international work.  Social justice considers a number of elements: promoting respect for human rights and dignity, individual worth and well being, diversity, equity, social inclusion, and the principles of social change.  Projects that focus on global citizenship, human rights, and peace education are congruent within a social justice frameworks and moving social agendas forward.  However, increasing managerialism and accounting logics begin to pervade universities and may become barriers to implementing and sustaining the goals of social justice.

This presentation will be of interest to all social work educators who have an interest in the examination of furthering the values and activities of social justice within the profession in the face of increasing competition for our time and priorities.


Dr. Adrienne Chan is a Professor in the School of Social Work and Human Services at University College of the Fraser Valley.  Her interests include diversity: race, gender, class, dis/ability and sexual orientation; policy studies, social justice, child welfare, anti-racism and anti-oppression, institutional change, academic culture and research culture.  Recent publications include: “Policy discourses and changing practice: Diversity and the university-college” (Higher Education, 2005) and Diversity and change in institutions of higher learning (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007).

Kaillie Kangro and Nancy Larson are Bachelor of Social Work students at the University College of the Fraser Valley.  They are working with Adrienne Chan as research assistants.

Footnote:  "SSHRC, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada's federal funding agency for university-based research and student training in the social sciences and humanities" fr.

  • CSSHE Abstract paper presentation
    - Presented at Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, June 2008.
     Racial Identity and Cultural Politics in Post- Secondary Education

CSSHE Panel 2:  Racialization of post-secondary students: 
Racial identity and cultural politics in post-secondary education

Adrienne S. Chan, PhD, Professor,
University College of the Fraser Valley
Satwinder Bains, PhD student,
Simon Fraser University

Issues of racial identity both inform and influence the post-secondary experiences of young South Asians (Indo-Canadians).  As a culturally invested group of second-generation students, they are constantly battling issues of identity within a milieu of cultural politics both within and without their cultural communities.  Choices about education, career, employment and extra curricular activities are sometimes controlled and predicated by family members.  Issues of power and control often affect youth with feelings of disempowerment about their own personal choices and the opportunities for identity formation.  These factors contribute to a disassociation towards their personal identity and their expectations of self.  These issues are reinforced by classroom interactions, the institution, and the broader larger community with which students are a part.

Identity is shaped by how people are recognized and represented, as well as through personal and social relations.  Identity raises questions about the ontology of the self, the process of becoming, and the dialectical nature of relationships.  Identity as a construct is difficult.  It is a precarious relationship between belonging and essentializing, as well as negotiating a sense of fit within an educational institution. Essentialism reduces groups of people to fixed properties or ‘essence’, while belonging provides the possibility of ‘positive’ social groupings and affiliation.  South Asians are often essentialized by public discourses and stereotypes of ‘monster houses’, family violence (Jiwani, 2006), untrustworthiness, and criminality (Henry & Tator, 2002).

Individuals develop a sense of identity and this influences their every day life and reality.  Identity may be defined as ‘involving the ongoing development of internal conceptions of oneself based on establishing links between oneself and others’ (Pullin & Stark, 1999, 1).  Thus, identity is constructed through a number of forces, including social and personal forces in the post-secondary environment.  Identity is an issue for people constructed through difference or ‘otherness’, as well as for those in power, and those who construct the ‘otherness’.

Hall (1992) talks about identity as not being fixed or centred and refers to the acknowledgment of history, language, and culture that produces a contextual background to ethnicity, subjectivity and identity.  hooks (1990) argues for complexity of identity and radical subjectivity, while queer theory has also challenged fixed notions of identity.  There are multiple external forces that influence and may be part of the construction of identity.  Thus, identity is often transitional and contextually related.  Williamson (1998) has also talked about identity as not fixed. He suggests connections to learning, change and the ‘lifeworlds’ of people’s experience.  ‘All adults are learning all the time as their lives and the world around them change.  What should concern adult educators is how people come to make sense of these changes and consolidate what they understand’ (1998,73).

Daily experience and identity are also constituted by what Taylor (1994) describes as recognition and misrecognition, which potentially can be harmful and oppressive.  South Asian students talk about how they are misrecognized and misrepresented in their daily lives.  Faculty, staff, and students have the power to recognize and give recognition and these are significant factors in identity formation.  Taylor goes on to say that identity is based on negotiation and dialogue with others, and therefore recognition and dialogical relations are pivotal grounding in the formation of identity.  Recognition is also linked to learning and ‘knowing’.

Khayatt (1994) and Tyagi (1996) articulate the ways in which they are constructed because they are women, immigrants, having brown skin, and working in the academy.  Khayatt has a sense of what her identity is and is not, even while identities may be imposed on her.  The discrepancies imposed on her compel Khayatt to articulate the complexity of her identity and to contest single and imposed identity. She suggests identity has many facets and intersections in its formation and movement.  The cultural politics that Khayatt and Tyagi described are similar to the lived experiences of South Asian students attending post-secondary education.  Khayatt is not seen as a Canadian because her primary identity is that of an immigrant, even though she has education and some of the vestiges of class status.

The role of family is important in identity formation, and South Asian families play a pivotal role in the everyday lives and experiences of their grown children.  South Asian families share many similarities with white and other families.  Parents and grand parents generally want the same things for their children, they bring similar strengths and abilities to child-rearing, and they encounter similar problems in bringing up children.  Cultural conflicts are brought to bear when youth attend school and post-secondary institutions.  When conceptualizing the ways in which cultural difference impacts cultural identity it is important to be aware that a monolithic South Asian culture does not exist (Maiter, 2003).  Young South Asians are consistently part of an embedded and collective family structure, and this structure influences their daily interactions and identity development.

This presentation will describe the lived experiences of young South Asian students in a sub-urban community in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  Drawing from interviews with students, the presentation will discuss implications for counselors, faculty and staff, especially with regard to cross cultural tensions, and issues of difference and diversity.  Analysis of these experiences provides thematic considerations for empowerment, addressing cultural identity development, and racial discrimination.


  • Hall, S. (1992). New ethnicities. In: J.Donald and A.Rattansi, eds. 'Race', culture and difference. London: Sage
  • Henry, F., & Tator, C. (2002). Discourses of domination: racial bias in the Canadian English-language press. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press
  • Hooks, b. (1990). Yearning: race, gender and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press.
  • Jiwani, Y. (2006). Discourses of denial. Mediations of race, gender, and violence. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.
  • Khayatt, D. (1994). The boundaries of identity at the intersection of race, class and gender. Canadian Woman Studies 14(2) 6-12.
  • Maiter, S. (2003). The context of culture: Social work practice with Canadians of South Asian background. In A. Al-Krenawi & J. R. Graham (Eds.), Multicultural social work in Canada (pp. 365-387). Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.
  • Maiter, S. & George, U. (2003). Understanding context and culture in the parenting approaches of immigrant South Asian mothers. Affilia, 18(4), 411-428. Retrieved June 13, 2007, from SAGE publications.
  • Pullin, W. M. & Stark, C.1999. Women’s Academic Identity Formation. Perspectives. Volume 2. Number 9. Retrieved from:, September 15, 2000.
  • Taylor, C. (1994). The politics of recognition. In: A.Gutmann, ed. Multiculturalism, examining the politics of recognition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Tyagi, S. (1996). Writing in search of a home. In: B.Thompson & S.Tyagi, eds. Names we call home. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Williamson, B. (1998). Lifeworlds and learning. Leicester: NIACE.

See also

Below is 2008 Sample of Book Publication from A.S. Chan

Cover of THE EXCHANGE UNIVERISTY:  Corporatization of Academic Culture -  edited by  Adrienne S.  Chan and Donald Fisher published by UBC PRESS 2008

The Exchange University:  Corporatization of Academic Culture

by:  Adrienne S. Chan & Donald Fisher (Editors)
Publisher: University of British Columbia Press 2008.  224 Pages, indexed.  Table of contents below:


Introduction:  The Exchange University.  Adrienne S. Chan and Donald Fisher

Chapter One:  The Academic Capitalist Knowledge / Learning Regime Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades

Chapter Two:  Academic Culture and the Research Intensive University: The Impact of Commercialism and Scientism. Adrienne S. Chan and Donald Fisher

Chapter Three:  The New Production of Researchers. Brigitte Gemme and Yves Gingras

Chapter Four:  Public Policy in Ontario Higher Education: from Frost to Harris. Paul Axelrod

Chapter Five:  How Fares Equity in an Era of Academic Capitalism?  The Role of Contingent Faculty. Linda Muzzin

Chapter Six:  Reclaiming Our Centre: Towards a Robust Defence of Academic Autonomy. Janice Newson and Claire Polster

Chapter Seven:  ‘Gender at Work’ in Teacher Education:  History, Society and Global Reform. Jo-Anne Dillabough and Sandra Acker

Chapter Eight:  The Political Economy of Legal Scholarship: A Case Study of the University of British Columbia Law School. Theresa Shanahan

Chapter Nine:  Keeping the Commons in Academic Culture: Protecting the Knowledge Commons from the Enclosure of the Knowledge Economy. Jennifer Sumner

Chapter Ten:  Conclusion


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