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Vol. 20. Num. 3. 2011. Pages 255-267

A Question of Balance: Exploring the Acculturation, Integration and Adaptation of Muslim Immigrant Youth

[Una Cuestión de Equilibrio: Explorando la Aculturación y la Adaptación de Jóvenes Musulmanes Inmigrantes]

Stuart, Jaimee Ward, Colleen

Abstract

The paper addresses criticisms of contemporary acculturation research by adopting a mixed method approach (open-ended survey responses, interviews, focus groups and projective techniques) to the study of the acculturation experiences of Muslim youth in New Zealand. The research explores: 1) the meaning, definition and achievement of success; 2) the process of negotiating multiple social identities; and 3) the graphic representation of identity. Thematic analysis indicated that young Muslims aspire to achieve success in personal, social, material and religious domains and that they seek to balance potentially competing demands from family, friends, the Muslim community and the wider society. At the same time they aspire to balance multiple identities, retaining religious and cultural elements in the definition of self while endeavoring to integrate into the wider society. The process of achieving this balance is characterized by three strategies: alternating orientations, blending orientations and minimizing differences. The findings are discussed in relation to advancing our understanding of integration as an acculturation option, and the community-based policy implications for multicultural societies are considered.

Resumen

El artículo aborda las críticas a la investigación sobre aculturación adoptando una metodología mixta (encuestas con preguntas abiertas y cerradas, entrevistas, grupos focales y técnicas proyectivas) para estudiar la experiencia aculturativa de jóvenes musulmanes en Nueva Zelanda. La investigación explora: 1) el significado, la definición y el logro de éxito; 2) el proceso de negociación de múltiples identidades sociales; y 3) la representación gráfica de la identidad. Análisis temáticos revelaron que los jóvenes musulmanes aspiran a lograr el éxito en el terreno personal, social, material y religioso tratando de equilibrar las exigencias potencialmente en conflicto de la familia, las amistades, la comunidad musulmana y la sociedad en general. Al mismo tiempo, aspiran a equilibrar identidades múltiples, reteniendo elementos religiosos y culturales en la definición del yo al tiempo que se esfuerzan por integrarse en la sociedad más amplia. El proceso del logro de este equilibrio se caracteriza por el empleo de tres estrategias: alternar orientaciones, integrar orientaciones y minimizar las diferencias. Se analizan los resultados en cuanto a su capacidad para ahondar nuestro conocimiento de la integración como estrategia de aculturación y se abordan las implicaciones para las políticas comunitarias en sociedad multiculturales.

Keywords

acculturation
adaptation
balance
integration
Muslim
youth

Palabras clave

aculturación
adaptación
equilibrio
integración
jóvenes
musulmán
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