Master status or intersectional identity? Undocumented students' sense of belonging on a college campus

Citation:

Valdez Z, Golash-Boza T. Master status or intersectional identity? Undocumented students' sense of belonging on a college campus. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. 2018;27 (4) :481-499.

Abstract:

Research on undocumented students in the United States often focuses on the challenges they face navigating postsecondary education, rooted in their precarious legal status. The observed influence of legal status on undocumented students’ sense of belonging and academic progress provides compelling evidence that being undocumented functions as a master status – a salient identity that conditions students’ educational incorporation. Yet, this research tends to highlight legal status while deemphasizing or excluding other identities. Our study takes an intersectional approach. Using focus group data with undocumented students at a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we show that students rarely identify legal status in isolation or implicate it as the sole source of adversity. Instead, students’ reveal a sense of belonging rooted in multiple dimensions of identity including ethnicity and class. This study reconsiders the utility of the master status concept in favour of an intersectional one for a comprehensive picture of undocumented students’ educational incorporation.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 11/04/2020