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Immigrants' Identity Negotiations and Coping with Stigma in Different Relational Frames

Marko Valenta
Symbolic Interaction
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Fall 2009), pp. 351-371
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
DOI: 10.1525/si.2009.32.4.351
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/si.2009.32.4.351
Page Count: 21
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Article
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Immigrants' Identity Negotiations and Coping with Stigma in Different Relational Frames
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Abstract

This research describes strategies that immigrants deploy in face-to-face interactions with indigenous locals and links these strategies to their relational frames and networks. By focusing on interconnections between identity management and network management, the author further explores some of the key trends already documented in the contemporary literature on ethnicity. The article also adds new insight to the analysis of stigma and identity by showing how self-friend and self-stranger relationships present different opportunities and limitations for self-presentation. Network fragmentation—commonly associated with a weak degree of social integration—is not necessarily an indicator of unsuccessful integration or segregation; it may be part of a wider immigrant identity project, a way to cope with stigmatization, and an important precondition for integration into mainstream society.

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