Voluntary and Involuntary Minorities: A Cultural-Ecological Theory of SchoolPerformance with Some Implications for EducationAuthor(s): John U. Ogbu and Herbert D. SimonsSource: Anthropology & Education Quarterly,Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 155-188Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological AssociationStable URL: Accessed: 13-01-2018 17:32 UTCJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available atAmerican Anthropological Association, Wileyare collaborating with JSTOR to digitize,preserve and extend access to Anthropology & Education QuarterlyThis content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Sat, 13 Jan 2018 17:32:03 UTCAll use subject to
Voluntary and Involuntary Minorities:A Cultural-Ecological Theory of SchoolPerformance with Some Implicationsfor EducationJOHN U. OGBUDepartment of AnthropologyUniversity of California, BerkeleyHERBERT D. SIMONSGraduate School of EducationUniversity of California, BerkeleyThis article has three objectives. First, it describes Ogbu's classification ofminorities: autonomous, voluntary or immigrant, and involuntary or nonim-migrant minorities. Second, it explains Ogbu's cultural-ecological theory ofminority school performance. Finally, it suggests some implications of the theoryfor pedagogy. The authors regard the typology of minority groups as a heuristicdevice for analysis and interpretation of differences among minority groups inschool experience.Ogbu has studied minority education in the United States and othersocieties for almost 28 years.1 During the first 15 years he concentratedon the differences in school performance between minority- and domi-nant-group students. He concluded that the differences were caused bythe treatment of minority groups in society at large and in school as wellas by the perceptions of the minorities and their responses to school dueto such treatment (Ogbu 1974, 1978). In the early 1980s the focus of hisresearch shifted toward explaining differences in school performanceamong minority groups themselves (Ogbu 1987). The focus on differ-ences among minorities has generated a great deal of response fromeducational anthropologists and other researchers.2 Some have con-ducted important research that either supports or challenges his perspec-tive. But in reviewing these works one finds that some of his main ideasare not always understood.