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Type: Theses
Title: Vietnamese Catholic immigrants in Australia and France: a comparative study of their cultural and linguistic adaptation, 2000-2005
Author: Tran Thi Nien, Marie
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: This thesis endeavoured to examine and compare the experiences of cultural adaptation, in the context of family, school and community, amongst people of Vietnamese background who were members of Catholic communities in Adelaide and Paris during the period 2000-2005. The research methodology used in this study was a qualitative method based on the framework of the humanistic sociological research initiated first by Thomas and Znaniecki in America and Poland and later in Australia by Smolicz. The fundamental assumption of humanistic sociological method is that cultural and social phenomena can only be fully understood if they are studied from the participants’ perspective rather than an outside observer’s. The main data were collected from sixteen written memoirs, forty-one oral memoirs and 340 questionnaires from respondents of first and second generation Vietnamese in Australia, plus thirteen oral memoirs and 60 questionnaire responses from respondents in France. Almost all of these respondents were drawn from the Vietnamese Catholic communities in Adelaide and in Paris. Other sources of data included in-depth interviews with community leaders and educational authorities and the use of Vietnamese community publications such as magazines, newsletters, community reports and constitutions. These sets of data were interpreted in the light of the knowledge and understanding obtained through the researcher's participant observation in the life of the Vietnamese people in Vietnam, France and Australia over a period of more than thirty years. The data collected were analysed in the light of the humanistic sociological framework of group and personal cultural values. The conceptual framework and methods of research of this study were discussed in Chapters 3 & 4. The cultural adaptation experiences of the respondents into the host society whether Australia or France were examined, with special focus on language maintenance and educational issues. Vietnamese language teaching programs across three education levels from primary to tertiary in the context of the language policies in Australia and France were examined in Chapter 5. The respondents’ patterns of linguistic proficiency, activation and evaluation as well as their Vietnamese learning experiences were analysed in Chapters 6 & 7. The language maintenance and transmission data were examined in conjunction with the language theories of Fishman and Clyne. The study also investigated the extent to which family life (Chapter 8) and community organisations, especially the religious organisations (Chapter 9) had contributed to the respondents’ cultural adaptation and influenced the construction of their personal and collective cultural identity in Adelaide and Paris. Smolicz’s theory of core values and cultural identity was used to interpret the data on family. From a comparative perspective, the findings indicated that Australian social and educational policies, favouring cultural diversity and supporting the teaching of ethnic languages such as Vietnamese, had resulted in a higher level of language maintenance and transmission among second generation Vietnamese participants in Adelaide compared with those in Paris. However, clear signs of language shift and language loss among respondents of second generation were apparent in both communities. Participation in community and family life also proved to be one of the most effective ways for preserving language and culture traditions. The Vietnamese Catholic communities were found to be important social systems for the Vietnamese immigrants in Adelaide and Paris. These organisations had contributed significantly to their successful cultural integration and played a vital role in the construction of a strong Vietnamese collective identity in Australia, and to lesser degree in France. Vietnamese family and linguistic values were highly evaluated and identified as core values of the Vietnamese culture by both groups of respondents in Adelaide and Paris. In the absence of a multicultural policy in France, the Vietnamese community organisations in France were not supported financially by the government, and consequently they were found to be less effective in helping members in their cultural adaptation process, compared with those in Australia, which received a substantial amount of money in subsidies each year to support their activities. Overall, many of the respondents in this study were able to maintain their linguistic and cultural values in the family and Vietnamese communities as a vibrant part of their cultural and social life in the new country, but at the same time many had achieved a high degree of successful integration into the way of life of the host society, in the areas of education and occupation. In addition to their theoretical significance, these findings have important policy implications for the Vietnamese community members, educational authorities and government agencies.
Advisor: Secombe, Margaret Joyce
Smolicz, Jerzy Jaroslaw
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2018
Keywords: cultural adaptation
Vietnamese Catholic immigrants
Vietnamese language maintenance
Vietnamese immigrants in Adelaide and Paris
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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