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Border-Crossing Strategies and Social Identities: A Social Psychological Study on Young Women of Middle Eastern Backgrounds in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to discuss the interview findings of a social psychological research project on everyday life experiences among young women of Middle Eastern backgrounds living in Sweden. With a phenomenological approach, the study focuses on social identity constructions and the interplay between self- and public images. Of particular interest are themes correlating with the subject of ethnic identifications, such as female respectability, feelings of shame, and shifting group affiliations. As young women of Middle Eastern backgrounds, the interviewees share experiences of stereotypical attitudes in society towards the category of “immigrant girls” generalized as Middle Eastern and Muslim. Much due to recent media reports on honour related violence in Sweden, a stereotypical public image of this particular category has gradually grown in the official debate, and influenced the everyday lives of the interviewees in various degrees. The analysis of the empirical material shows how the interviewees individually use different strategies to come to terms with their sense of belonging in a social context of misrepresentations and discrimination, but also feelings of inclusion in Sweden in terms of citizenship. Especially, ethnicity, gender, and religiosity are significant interdependent components in this identification process. A dominating experience among the interviewees is a drive to be recognized by the public as independent young women. However, this ambition can conflict with a potentially problematic and restricted approach from the family. The question is how the interviewees deal with the daily impact from the outside combined with the personal journey of discovering and negotiating with one’s self.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130156OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-130156DiVA: diva2:346972
XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology – Sociology on the move, 11-17 July 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden
Available from: 2010-09-02 Created: 2010-09-02 Last updated: 2011-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Haghverdian, Serine
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