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Points of View and the reconciliation of Identity Oppositions: examples from the Maltese in Britain

Author(s): Sammut, G.

Journal: Papers on Social Representations
ISSN 1021-5573

Volume: 19;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2010;
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This paper presents the findings of a case study of Maltese migrants to Britain. In the absence of a cohesive community, Maltese migrants to Britain are required to negotiate a new social reality at the individual level. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals can relate to alternative perspectives in different ways (Sammut and Gaskell, 2010). The present study demonstrates that individuals with different points of view negotiate different identities that serve to position them functionally within one or both social realities. Individuals with monological points of view elaborated exclusive identities that positioned them well in a single social setting. Individuals with dialogical points of view elaborated hierarchical identities, holding their own bicultural identities as superior. This had further positioning ramifications. In contrast, individuals with metalogical points of view elaborated non- hierarchical, chameleon or individualistic identities, by which they positioned themselves functionally in both social settings. For metalogical types, belonging to one group meant that one was neither more nor less a member of the other group. These findings thus add a third type to Duveen’s dual- typology of identity strategies in the reconciliation of oppositional categories.
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