Exploring the Construction of Moroccan Emigrants' Cultural Identity through Their Social Interaction with LOCAL People in Spain

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: Booth 62
Oral Presentation
Rosalía CASCÓN-PEREIRA , University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Fatimazohra EL AOUNI , Department of Business Management, University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Ana Beatriz HERNANDEZ-LARA , University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Moroccan emigrants in Spain can be considered as a stigmatized institutional category. From a social constructionist perspective, we assume that all social categories are constructed and negotiated in interaction. In this social context, the purpose of this study consists of exploring the cultural identity of Moroccan emigrants living in Spain. In particular, it aims to examine the content of their cultural identity as expressed by them in their interactions with local people of Spain, and also to analyse the social processes underlying the construction of their cultural identities.

To fulfil these aims we use the Social Identity Approach (Haslam, 2004), which has been traditionally applied to a broad array of topics that explore social categories and associated phenomena such as prejudice, stereotyping, negotiation and language use.

We in-depth interviewed 20 Moroccan emigrants living in Spain using purposeful sampling and trying to diversify at most our sample by gender, age, education and socio-economic status. Our qualitative analysis highlights a strong cultural identity in Moroccan emigrants and sense of belonging to their country and culture of origin. However, the characteristics that they most emphasise as main attributes of the social category “being Moroccan” are very heterogeneous. This heterogeneity is explained by their social interactions, in particular by their perceptions of “the other” Spanish local people that provoke the salience of certain attributes of their cultural identity rather than others. Some important theoretical and practical implications arise from these findings.