The Transnational Identities of Immigrants and Their Impact on the Sense of Belonging to the Host Society: The Case of Africans in Canada

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:40
Oral Presentation
Amal Ibrahim MADIBBO, University of Calgary, Canada
Animwaa OBENG-AKROFI, University of Calgary, Canada
In this paper, we will examine how Sub-Saharan African immigrants in Alberta, Canada, construct their transnational identities and whether these identities enhance and/or jeopardize their sense of belonging to Canada. To this end, we will analyze the connections these immigrants create and maintain with their countries of origin, the role that the global means of communication and transportation play in the enactment of these activities, and the reasons that prompt the immigrants to develop these ties. We will also explore the meanings which the immigrants associate with their transnational and Canadian identities. Utilizing theories of transnational migration (Hugo, 2014; Vertovec, 2009) and identity (Korostelina, 2007), as well as a qualitative research methodology that employs content analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews, we will shed light on the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in both the host society and the countries of origin that shape the identities being constructed. We will also ascertain that the transnational identity and the sense of belonging to the host society are not dichotomous; rather, immigrants negotiate these identities in a complementary manner to enhance their inclusion in both societies, and foster development in the countries of origin in Africa.