Migration and identity processes among first-generation British South Asians

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There has been little scholarly attention to the identities and migratory experiences of first-generation British South Asians, especially from social psychologists. Drawing upon Identity Process Theory, this article examines the inter-relations between migration and identity processes among twenty first-generation British South Asians. The interview data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Results suggested that migration was perceived as a means of enhancing identity and that following migration individuals acquired a ‘higher’ social status in the homeland. Moreover, the psychologically traumatic aspects of migration, such as the loss of community and ‘otherisation’ from one's ethnic ingroup, were outlined. It is argued that migration can have profound socio-psychological implications and that decades later it can continue to shape individuals' sense of self and their attachment to relevant social categories. Furthermore, migration has important outcomes for the extent and nature of British national identification as well one's relationship with the ethnic ‘homeland’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
JournalSouth Asian Diaspora
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


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