Culture clubs in Canadian Higher Education: Examining membership diversity

Victoria Surtees, Natalia Balyasnikova

Abstract


Culture clubs are student associations based around ethnic, cultural, or linguistic identities, such as the Persian club or Asian Union. At large postsecondary institutions in Canada, between 10-20% of student-run clubs, serving tens of thousands of ethnic minority students, are dedicated to some facet of culture. This paper describes this phenomenon and challenges the popular view of these organizations as self-segregated ethnic enclaves (Findley & Kohler, 2010) by investigating the diversity of identities within one particular club for Russian speakers. Drawing on poststructuralist theory (Block, 2007, 2010) which views individuals’ identities as multiple, dynamic and contingent, we discuss the lived experiences of three focal club members whose multiple positionings complicate notions about who joins such clubs and the role they play within institutions.

Keywords


diversity; identity; higher education; student clubs

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Last updated November 2 2018