Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
A Master Narrative Approach to the Negotiation of an “Immigrant Identity” in Sweden.
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology. (BUV)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2901-0187
2019 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A Master Narrative Approach to the Negotiation of an "Immigrant Identity" in Sweden

In Sweden, and many European countries, the concepts of race and ethnicity are not as relevant, and a division between immigrants and non-immigrants is more salient as the basis for in-group definitions. This would have consequences for identity work of young people with an immigrant background living in those societies. Master narratives are shared cultural stories of what types of behaviors are normative and valued (McLean & Syed, 2015) and defines the acceptable frameworks for defining the self ( McLean et al., 2017). Personal narratives are then form in alignment or misalignment with the master narratives (McLean & Syed, 2015).

This study aims to understand the interplay between societal expectations and individual identity work in how immigrants negotiate their identities, in relation to the master narrative of being Swedish and the misaligning alternative narratives of being immigrant. Specifically, two research questions guided the work: 1) what narratives of being immigrant are told, and 2) how are identities negotiated their in relation to the master narrative of being Swedish, and the alternative, stereotypical narratives of being immigrant.

Data was from a larger study addressing ethnic identity in Sweden, the Gothenburg Research on Ethnicity-related Experiences and identity Narratives (GREEN) project. The current sample comprised of 251 participants (74% female), age 16-25. Participants wrote stories about a time when they felt that their personal life story diverged from what is considered appropriate, normal or accepted (Alpert, Marsden Szymanowski, & Lilgendahl, 2013). Written narratives were analysed using thematic analyses (Braun & Clark, 2006). Results showed two main types of experiences of being immigrant:1) "Immigrant" as a self-chosen identity, and as an in-group. Feelings of sameness and belonging was based either on a shared immigrant experience or being in a minority (regardless of a shared ethnicity or language), or based on having the same view of life. 2) "Immigrant" as ascribed by others, and not an in-group. Participants described being viewed as immigrants regardless of being born in Sweden, and by being grouped together with other immigrants regardless of culture, language or ethnicity. Thus, the label "immigrant" was described as denying them a Swedish identity and their ethnicity of origin, resulting in a feeling of not belonging anywhere.

Further, results of thematic analyses showed two main themes in how immigrant identities were negotiated in relation to the master narrative of being Swedish and the stereotypical immigrant narrative. The first, the "stereotypical immigrant" was in line with the stereotypical image of the immigrant as inferior to, and in direct contrast to the Swedish identity. The second type, the "successful immigrant" resisted the stereotype by proving it wrong, and being "more Swedish" than Swedes. This included stories of performing and behaving well, having good grades, by dressing neat, speaking impeccable Swedish, and not showing any religious symbols. Findings highlight how individual identity negotiation is affected by societal structures, where personal narratives are formed in adherence and adoption to an alternative narrative, or by resisting and proving the master narrative wrong. 100 words: Using a master narrative framework, the study explored the interplay between societal expectations and individual identity work in how immigrants negotiate their identities, in relation to the master narrative of being Swedish and the misaligning alternative narratives of being immigrant. 251 written narratives were thematically analyzed. Results indicate that "immigrant" can be both a self-chosen in-group, and an ascribed label. Identity negotiation included the "stereotypical immigrant" as inferior to, and in direct contrast to the Swedish narrative, and the "successful immigrant" as resisting and proving the immigrant narrative wrong by exceeding the Swedish narrative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
immigrant, identity, Sweden
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Child and Youth studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-14778OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-14778DiVA, id: diva2:1381581
Conference
ISRI International Society of Research on Identity, Italien, Neapel 13-15 maj, 2019
Available from: 2019-12-23 Created: 2019-12-23 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

Konferens webbsida

Authority records BETA

Svensson, Ylva

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Svensson, Ylva
By organisation
Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology
Applied Psychology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 15 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf