The social construction of diasporic identity: discourses of South Asian women about identity, racism and racialism
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AbstractThe influx of people from "Third World" countries to North America has been termed a "diaspora" (Bhatia, 2002). Research on immigrant identity has relied on transcultural models ( e.g. Berry, 1997), while studies about immigrant experiences often focus on racism. However, existing research is limited because it isolates individuals from their social, historical, and cultural context. My study provides an alternative approach to current views ofdiasporic identity and social phenomena such as racism. Conversations oftwelve South Asian women were analyzed using discourse analysis. Findings showed that participants claimed multiple identities. "Canadian" identity was drawn upon in formal, public situations, while "South Asian" identity was preferred in informal, private situations. Tensions ofpublic/private and Canadian/South Asian also factored into talk about racism. In ambiguous social and work situations, participants often denied that racism had occurred by using discursive devices to explain away or qualify negative experiences, thus avoiding victim status.
Bibliography: p. 137-146