Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Balancing Two Worlds: Female Indo-Fijian Immigrant Youth in Their Public and Private Domains and the Emergence of the New Hybridity

Author

Nitasha Ali

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology

First Advisor

Robbie Ethridge

Second Advisor

Ross Haenfler

Third Advisor

Ahmet Yukleyen

Abstract

In the last 20 years immigration in Canada has increased due to the relaxed immigration laws. With such an increase it is vital to understand immigrant youth experiences in terms of how they express their national and cultural identity, how they negotiate different expectations of their host and homeland cultures, and how they identify themselves at a personal level. Many immigrant youths are faced with conflict, deriving from pressures of living in a new society and culture as well as pressure from their family and the homeland culture. These conflicts and expectations also have a gendered layer in that female immigrant youths have different experiences growing up than their male counterparts. As a result, young immigrant females struggle with keeping their life balanced which results in a separation of their two world and cultures. Scholars typically understand such separation to result in the formation of a hybrid identity. Using a case study of female Indo-Fijian immigrant youth in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, I discuss the concept of hybridity through investigating the way in which the public and school life and the private and home life influence the expression of ethnicity, nationality, and identity. There is a clear distinction between the public life and the private life. I argue that instead of a synthetic identity of hybridity that, in fact, immigrant youths gravitate towards the culture of their host country and consciously move away from their homeland culture. However, their private and home life expectations pull them back towards their homeland culture. The identity that results from this tension is what I call the “new hybrid”. By using the native ethnographer approach, I demonstrate that ethnicity, nationality, and identity are complex and multi-faceted and its expression is influenced by their social domains and individual agency.

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