A Linguistic Minority Student’s Discursive Framing of Agency and Structure
Studies that have looked at students’ postsecondary transitions and experiences have leaned signifi cantly towards structural reasons to explain their success or lack of success, such as various institutional resources or barriers (Bowen, Kurzwell, & Tobin, 2005; McDonough, 1997). This chapter shifts the focus from these structural explanations to linguistic minority students’ sense of agency. This conceptual framework that highlights the agency of the students was used to frame and analyze fi ndings from a study that I along with others (Kanno & Varghese, 2010; Kanno, Varghese, & Fuentes, 2011; Oropeza, Varghese, & Kanno, 2010) conducted using interviews of linguistic minority students at the undergraduate level. In a recent article (Kanno et al., 2011) based on this same study and using follow-up case studies of fi ve students, we show how these students framed and used their agency (often in relation to their history and environment) to navigate the institutions of high school and college as well as how their agency was relationally and symbiotically created with their environment.