Angry Anglos and aspirational Asians: everyday multiculturalism in the selective school system in Sydney

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Discourse, 2019, 40 (4), pp. 514 - 529
Issue Date:
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© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. ‘Asian whiz kids’ perfect test scores.’ ‘Selective schools and tiger parents.’ These types of headlines highlight the increased visibility of academically successful students from Asian migrant backgrounds, in Australia and other Western countries. They also point to anxiety about the perceived aggressive ‘tiger’ parenting often associated with Asian academic success. This paper focuses on the forms of everyday multiculturalism found in and around high-performing selective schools and classes in Sydney, Australia, almost all of which are dominated by Asian-Australian students. Drawing on interviews with parents and students from Anglo- and Asian-Australian backgrounds, it documents the different positionalities adopted by participants within these culturally diverse settings, including anger, aspiration and cosmopolitanism. This potentially volatile combination of approaches to diversity reveals some of the social consequences of neoliberal migration and education policies.
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