Intersectional Analysis of the Self-Perception of Binational Descendants in Switzerland and in Morocco

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Gwendolyn GILLIERON, phd Candidate at Goethe-University Francfort, Germany
For everybody, the experience of otherness can occur since the perception of one’s self is always in relation with one’s perception by others. But some persons are more vulnerable concerning their (self)-perception, for example, adolescents of mixed origin. Here, multiple dimensions become relevant such as skin colour, gender, national origin of the parents, processes of othering and/or social origin, to name just a few. My research looks at the self-perception and positioning of young adults of mixed descent in Switzerland and Morocco. Comparing my field studies for my PhD research, I noticed that social discourses as well as my own positioning in the field and the research situation influence the biographical narratives of the young adults.

My presentation will be based on a contrastive comparison of biographical interviews with adolescents of mixed descent in Switzerland and Morocco from an intersectional perspective. My analysis will highlight the different dimensions that influence the biographical constructions of the young adults, especially also the role of their specific social and societal context. Why do they present themselves the way they do? Which processes and categorisations influence their self-perception? In which way is their self-perception a reaction to social conditions such as racism, identity politics, gender, and social class? An intersectional perspective on the life course can show how experiences of difference may develop and change over time. For example, an experience of racism during childhood may influence identity constructions in the present. Furthermore, I intend to look at the individual biographical experience and at the resources the young adults have developed to deal with their positioning.