Xueqing (Rose) Zhang
Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
Health and gender inequality and social stratification
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Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
Interracial relationships are often viewed as indicators of social change. Scholars tend to interpret an increased number of these relationships to be a wider acceptance and integration of racial diversity, and the closing of the racial divide. However, few studies examine how couples respond to the historically based and politically charged social pressures of racial mixing. The purpose of this research is to extend the literature in the subfield by investigating the impact of these pressures and the tools that the couples employ to navigate them. To better understand how interracial couples perceive race and cope with racism, I used purposive sampling to select individuals in Black/White unions from both Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. I conducted two- hour, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with 37 participants. The results revealed through flexible coding are three-fold. First, after considering the literature on Black identity formation and development, and isolating the responses of the Black participants, the data showed that Black identity is too narrowly depicted and defined. It excludes the many expressions of blackness. The Black participants in this study engaged in restructuring and reframing their identity based on circumstances and experiences. Second, perspective and identity shifts were evident in the White participants. Witnessing racism directed toward their partners and children led them to shift from a white racial frame into a process that I call racial frame convergence. Third, while focusing on the Black/White couple as the unit analysis, I identified processes of racialized trust development and maintenance.
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Existing quantitative research shows that people tend to partner with someone of a similar educational level. However, quantitative measurements are not sufficient to capture how individuals perceive the significance of education in potential partners. This study draws on interviews with 26 Canadian-born and 24 Chinese immigrant online daters to examine individuals’ perceptions of education in their search for partners. The findings show that, although education mattered to some participants, Canadian-born participants articulated their educational preferences for potential partners in less culturally overt ways than Chinese immigrants did. Canadian-born daters often framed their educational preferences as preferring intellectual compatibility, whereas Chinese immigrant daters used higher education received in North America to predict cultural capital specific to the host country. While participants who valued education emphasized its signaling effect in assuring cultural matching and intellectual compatibility, there were also participants who deemed higher education unimportant. Chinese immigrants’ indifference to education reflected the devaluation of immigrants’ academic qualifications as human capital in the Canadian labor market. Meanwhile, Canadian-born participants who rejected a “snobby” view of education and success valued an omnivorous taste of intelligence; in doing so, they formed symbolic boundaries that effectively discounted the educational achievements and experiences of non-Canadian-born “others.” This research contributes to the literature by uncovering new forms of status memberships that result from nuanced evaluative distinctions.
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