Featured weekly article: The Identity Construction of Nationally Mixed People: The Impact of Parental Transmission and Socialization Outside the Family

The Identity Construction of Nationally Mixed People: The Impact of Parental Transmission and Socialization Outside the Family

By Anne Unterreiner

Volume 17, Issue 1, pages 25-43

 

Abstract

A nationally mixed person, defined as an individual whose parents were born in different countries, may have plural socialization and identify with different nations. Studying this population allows us thus to investigate the process of national identification. From ninety-seven qualitative interviews of mixed people living in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, we learn that parental transmission and socialization outside the family interact in the production of the national identification of mixed people. The intermingling of these dimensions leads the national identity of mixed people to turn towards four identity poles: a rooted identity, a mixed identity based on heritage, a foreigner identity, or an identity other than national. Analysing national self-identification through identity poles has important theoretical implications. First, it shows that national belonging is characterized by fluidity and plurality throughout the entire life course of the respondents. Second, the definition of these different poles of identification highlights the determinants of national self-identification.

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