Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ogbu, John (1939–2003)
John Ogbu was a major figure in educational anthropology. The impact of his writings and his influence on hundreds of students and colleagues will be felt for decades to come. His work has been translated into numerous languages and has influenced educational debates within and beyond the field of anthropology. Like many scholars before and since, Ogbu searched for explanations for the disproportionate rates of academic failure among ethnic minorities in the U.S. He found explanations based on “cultural differences” unconvincing, noting that some minorities manage to succeed at rates equal to or above those of white students, despite being culturally and linguistically quite different from the “mainstream.” He instead proposed that the essential factor shaping minority students' orientation toward formal schooling was their status as either “voluntary” or “involuntary” minorities. Voluntary minorities are immigrants by choice who aspire to succeed on the terms of their host ...