Sustaining identity change through the use of symbolic resources: The case of an immigrant living in Greece
PublisherIAP Information Age Publishing
Place of publicationCharlotte, NC, US
SourceMulticentric identities in a globalizing world.
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This article examines processes of identity change involved in the transition of immigration through the case of Celia, a Colombian immigrant living in Greece. It begins by examining the processes of identity change that emerge as Celia encounters a new social environment and also comes into contact with a changing home community environment. Following her relocation, Celia had to deal with the stigmatization of her national identity by the Greek society, with an ambivalent encounter with a Greek identity, with the devaluation of herself in the eyes of her home community and with the inclusion to a new Latina identity. The analysis shows how Celia assisted these processes of self-change and development by relying on culture and actively employing cultural elements as symbolic resources. Specifically, it focuses on the ways that poetry and dancing were used in different ways by Celia in her efforts to maintain a proud national identity facing stigma, to reposition herself towards her home community and to engage in self-transformation in the Greek environment. Celia’s case study analysis presents a complex picture of the processes involved in experiencing and managing self-change following immigration; processes that, as it will be suggested, should be studied and understood in their particular socio-cultural contexts, where they take place. This systemic understanding of how processes of personal sense-making are carried out and the social conditions under and through which they do so, is in line with a developing and much needed idiographic approach to the study of psychological phenomena. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)