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Identities of Migration

A Narrative-based Approach to the Studies of Social Representation

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Débora Amaral da Costa

This book reflects upon the main methodologies used in the studies of representation in the context of migration to suggest new alternatives in which narratives are regarded as part of the corpus. The book looks at social and linguistic representations shared by Haitian immigrants in Rio de Janeiro, through short narratives. The results are part of different identity projections. This book provides data that helps in the development of new methodologies in researches about representation and integrates them into identity studies. The analysis of the information shows that representations change during the migration process and that identities assumed by the subjects contribute to maintenance or changes in these representations.

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Preface

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This book is the result of a research developed by Débora Costa at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF) in Brazil and the Europa Universität Viadrina in Germany on Haitian immigrants in Rio de Janeiro. Deboraʼs interest in Haitians is in the context of the migratory wave that began shortly after the 2010 earthquake. This quake destroyed much of the country and sensitized then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who, after a visit to Haiti, invited Haitians to emigrate to Brazil.

In Brazil, Haitians faced chronic prejudice against blacks and poor people in the country, a set of attitudes that did not retrieve the moment of solidarity expressed by President Lula. Rather than trying to understand the different linguistic uses of Portuguese, French and Haitian Creole, Débora Costa set out to listen to the experiences of each Haitian she followed in her ethnographic research. The daily interactions with the group members and their life histories allowed the author to grasp the difficulties they faced, the recurrent push factors of the migratory movement, both in the country of origin and in the destination country, the apparent contradictions, the silences and other reactions expressed by Haitians that could not be portrayed by a questionnaire.

Identities of Migration: a Narrative-based Approach to the Studies of Social Representation is undoubtedly a methodological proposal to analyze social representations in the context of migration. The author gives the reader a way to understand how each subject...

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