9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS10 Socio-Anthropology of Trans-national Migrations and Migrants' Families

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Growing Up in Migrant Family: Youths Building II, C2.05

Young descendants from PALOP - ethnic identities

The majority of immigrants from Portuguese Speaking African Countries (PALOP) are in Portugal for many years. Therefore, either by family reunion or by marriage in the host country, already have descendants.
This explains why the ethnic-national identity of young African immigrants children can be of particular interest, since they absorb and keep some of the specificities of their parents culture of origin and at the same time incorporate the Portuguese values and representations system, the society where they were born or grew up.
The aim of this paper, product of a Sociology Master's thesis, was to understand the process by which the ethnic-national identity of these young descendants from PALOP immigrants is structured. Moreover, to grasp the dynamics of expression of that identity using for this propose semi-structured interviews on eleven youngsters of different nationalities.
To fulfill this aim, the research followed the social identity model (Tajfel) in order to outcome a better comprehension of the ethnic-national identity of these young people. Thus, six dimensions of analysis were created: "Me and my journey of life" (social and demographic characterization of the interviewed), "Me and my parents" (social and demographic characterization of the parents), "Image of me" (self-characterization in terms of nationality), "The others and I" (representations I believe others have about me), "Identities - practices and the symbolic" (dimensions in which they express feelings of belonging), "Images in two tones" (representations and future expectations about the two countries).
The results showed that the identities were built and reconstructed through elements such as music, food, sports, perceptions of discrimination and image of "others". These two last elements assume particular importance in the identity definition of youngsters with nationality of origin (many of them don't have Portuguese nationality).
Furthermore, other elements of differentiation were identified among these youngsters since their ethnic-national identity is structured and influenced by their social conditions and relations. Consequently, one of the main contributions of this research is the enrichment of the conceptual discussion about "second generation immigrants". A concept used in many institutional and academic contexts and that sometimes can forget the inherent condition of being young.