Poster Title

The Uncomfortable In-Between: Immigration and Identity

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Sociology

Minor

International studies and Economics

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

KY House District #

67

KY Senate District #

24

Department

Anthropology, Sociology and Philosophy

Abstract

Each year, approximately one million people emigrate to the United States. On average, about 700 hundred thousand of these immigrants go on to become US citizens. Yet, what we really don’t have is the information on how much the experience of being immigrated from an insider’s perspective through the expectation to assimilate completely shapes how the immigrants see themselves. Using the research method of autobiographical sociology, the author examines her own experiences immigrating to the US from Thailand at the age of 10 to address these questions: (1) How is cultural identity developed in immigrants (particularly children)? and (2) what influences the level to which an immigrant might assimilate to a new culture? The findings indicate that, although the author resisted assimilating to the host culture and maintained a seemingly strong identity as a "Thai person living in the US," a recent return visit to Thailand revealed the complexities of cultural identity for immigrants. This research sheds light on the ways in which the cultural identity of immigrant children evolves.

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The Uncomfortable In-Between: Immigration and Identity

Each year, approximately one million people emigrate to the United States. On average, about 700 hundred thousand of these immigrants go on to become US citizens. Yet, what we really don’t have is the information on how much the experience of being immigrated from an insider’s perspective through the expectation to assimilate completely shapes how the immigrants see themselves. Using the research method of autobiographical sociology, the author examines her own experiences immigrating to the US from Thailand at the age of 10 to address these questions: (1) How is cultural identity developed in immigrants (particularly children)? and (2) what influences the level to which an immigrant might assimilate to a new culture? The findings indicate that, although the author resisted assimilating to the host culture and maintained a seemingly strong identity as a "Thai person living in the US," a recent return visit to Thailand revealed the complexities of cultural identity for immigrants. This research sheds light on the ways in which the cultural identity of immigrant children evolves.