Immigrant Identity: Part II

Eric Mark Kramer


In this article first conventional definitions and the major traditional theories of self and identity are summarized. Because immigrant identity is central to other processes they too are summarized. They include the concepts of integration, assimilation, acculturation, adaptation, adjustment, and adoption. It is important and useful to review the distinctions made between integration and assimilation as well as the distinctions between self and identity that exist in the conventional sociology and psychology literature. Too often these concepts are confused or used as synonyms.
Then a final section presents a discussion of contemporary theories of immigrant identity specifically and the widely observed process of enclaving, which manifests in-group and out-group identification. The theories of cultural fusion, semantic field theory, and dimensional accrual and dissociation are summarized and applied to the phenomenon of immigrant identity.

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