The Presentation of Self: Identity Construction of Young Descendants of Migrants in Sweden

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:50
Oral Presentation
Alireza BEHTOUI, Södertörn University, Sweden
This study is the result from a survey conducted on a sample of young people aged 17 to 18 years old, born in Sweden with family roots in Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Bosnia. We have moreover included in the survey a reference group of youth with Swedish-born parents in the same age group.

The aim of the study is to illuminate processes of the constructing of the identity positions shared by descendants of different migrant group in a European context. Compared to North-American experiences, the specific European mode of “ethnic” identification restrict the range of identity positions. By focusing on how these young people perceive themselves in various context of everyday life in Sweden, the paper problematize the way mainstream society perceive their identity. Using a relational approach, i.e. who our relationships with other contribute to shaping of identities, we explore who embeddedness in various social networks have an impact on our respondents’ way of identity construction.

As results show, the majority within different groups of young people with immigrant background identify themselves as both Swedish and of their particular grouping. In line with our relational approach that rely on the assumption that we construct our identities in a dialogue with others, our results demonstrate that, respondents class background, their friendships network, their relationships within schools with teachers and other adults and their participation in various extra-curricular activities have a significant impact on the processes of the identity construction.