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"You Can't Oppress Yourself": Negotiating the Meaning of Opportunity in Post-Aparteid South Africa


by Janine Bempechat & Salie Abrahams — 1999

This investigation examined how black South Africa adolescents conceptualized their outlooks on the past and the future, taking into account their intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social-historical perspectives. This paper reports an analysis of themes which emerged in relation to achievement issues. Qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews showed that, despite having come of age in a society that was designed to oppress, these students were committed to high educational goals, determined to seize the opportunities that they perceived were now available to them, and held generally positive views about their futures. Results are discussed in terms of the intersection between achievement motivation theory and cultural psychology.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 100 Number 4, 1999, p. 841-859
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10344, Date Accessed: 5/24/2017 5:36:33 PM

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About the Author
  • Janine Bempechat
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    Janine Bempechat is assistant professor of education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She studies achievement motivation in children and young adults. She is particularly interested in ethnic and cultural differences in the socialization of achievement. Her present research is focused on the motivational aspects of learning in poor and minority children.
  • Salie Abrahams
    University of the Western Cape
    Salie Abrahams received his Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He recently served as director of the Grassroots Educare Trust, a national organizaion that delivers early childhood education to underserved communities in South Africa. He is presently Director of Research and Content for Sesame Street South Africa. Dr. Abrahams also serves on the board of the National Children's Rights Committee of South Africa.
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