Higher education and the discursive construction of American national identity, 1946-2013
KeywordsEducation, Higher $x Social aspects $z United States
Education, Higher $z United States $x History $y 20th century
Education, Higher $z United States $x History $y 21st century
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AbstractAmerican institutions of higher education have served as a beacon of American idealism and identity since the foundation of the earliest universities. As the nation developed, higher education matured and continued to maintain a position of importance in the future of the nation. While the university has perpetuated a national cultural identity, the nation-state has resourced and legitimated the university, co-evolving, inextricably linking American national cultural identity and higher education. The goal of this study is to examine the role of higher education in producing and reproducing American cultural identity from 1946 to 2013, and how, if at all, the discursive identity constituted in the United States is bifurcated across class lines as represented in the university and community college respectively. To adequately address this complex topic, methods rooted in critical discourse analysis and a theoretical lens consistent with critical realist interpretations of the creation of material practices are employed to understand the discursive construction of national identity and higher education's role in its production and reproduction.