A matter of power? (Ethnic) Identification and integration of the Albanian-origin immigrants in Thessaloniki

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

The literature on the second generation has generally considered ethnicity as ‘the issue’ marking the identity formation of the children of migrants. This paper looks at Albanian-origin teenagers in Thessaloniki and explores their experiences and narratives of identification processes, focusing on the role of ethnicity. Results show that other identity traits are very important to the teenagers, whereas references to ethnicity are determined by contextual characteristics and factors, rather than parents’ or the ethnic community’s ‘legacy’. Ethnicity itself, at least in primordial terms, is perceived as a symbolic and external entity to which Albanian-origin teenagers have to relate in their everyday lives. The findings contrast with previous studies based on analysis of other second-generation groups and countries, which have established ethnicity as the core of the factors influencing the identity and integration strategies of the second generation. This paper shows that the type and frequency of references and choices in relation to ethnicity can be rational even among members of ‘new second generations’, with differences between self-identification and ethnic labelling conditioned by personal experience and by the centrality of ethnicity in the host society’s political and social spheres.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrighton
PublisherSussex Centre for Migration Research
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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