The identity construction and negotiation of 1.5 generation Congolese migrant youth in Cape Town, South Africa
Mayoma, Jaclisse Lorene
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Globalization has evidently led to an increase in the flow of immigrants across the world, a fact that has and continues to play a significant role in the development of studies on immigration, immigration patterns and the psycho-social struggles that immigrants face; of which identity negotiation in the new context is included. A number of works have been done on the identity negotiation and identity-forming process of immigrant youth. This study attempts to highlight, rather specifically, the unique challenges that 1.5 generation immigrant youth have in forming their identities. Rumbaut coined the term “one-and-a-half generation” to describe “children of Cuban exiles who were born in Cuba but have come of age in the United States” (1976:8). Thus the 1.5 generation immigrant youth constitutes children who were born in their country of origin but was raised and received the education and important experiences in the host country. Hence, the issue of identity becomes important for adolescents such as the 1.5 generation growing up in Diasporic settings. How they come to define who they are, their place in the world and others’ perception of them have significant implications for their successful integration into their new societies (Ogbuagu, 2013). This study takes a socio-cultural approach to investigating the identity negotiation and construction of 1.5 generation Congolese immigrant youth. Sociocultural linguistics refers to an interdisciplinary field which considers language as a sociocultural phenomenon; hence positioning identity as a phenomenon that is socially constructed through language and hence, performed within interaction and conversations.