Migration and identity construction: discourses, definitions, borders

The event is part of the seminar series Migration in a Global Perspective and will take place on November 29, Room 102, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, Panduri Campus at 17.00.

In the course of this analysis, I make use of concepts such as collective identity, identity construction, migration as discursive resource and ethnicity in tackling the question of how identity is constructed by the interviewees in their interactions with the researchers. More specifically, a certain part of this constructionist setting is emphasized: the role played by migration as concept brought by interviewees into the discussion flow in order to define social categories or, in social identity theory’s vocabulary, in-groups and out-groups. Migration offers the opportunity, or, comes with the necessity of encountering otherness, and enriches the available identities, as well as the sources of definition: „Migrants, in other words, occupy multiple subject positions, some of which they define for themselves and some of which are defined for them.” (Brettell and Sargent, 2006: 4). The repertoire of pertinent research questions is associated with the matter of immigrant integration, and the site of research and of reference is commonly the country of destination. The proposition here is to look at how individuals account for their own identity, as well as others’ identities, by using migration as a discursive resource. Thus, it invites readers to analyses of discourses, positionings and narratives of migration as personal experience and, following this road, to insights into identity construction through constant references to migration. The data used in the analyses was generated through qualitative empirical research, using in-depth interviews and observation, conducted in two rural communities in Romania, Seaca (Teleorman county) and Păunești (Vrancea county) in 2012-2014.

Short Bio:
Alexandra Deliu finished her PhD at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, with a thesis analysing migration as a resource for identity construction. Her topics of interest include migration, discourse analysis, identity and gender. Since 2014, Alexandra is a research fellow at the Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy.

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