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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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2. Haitian Immigration in Rio de Janeiro: Sociohistorical and Linguistic Context

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Subiu a construção como se fosse máquina

Ergueu no patamar quatro paredes sólidas

Seus olhos embotados de cimento e lágrima15

Abstract: In this chapter, I clarify the migration movement in Haiti and the Haitian immigration in the context of Rio de Janeiro. I introduce some of the representations carried by the category “migrant” before entering the topic of Haitian migration. This research shows that the representation of migrants is associated with poor black people, whose country has been suffering from natural disasters and the international intervention that diminishes state sovereignty. These are historical data frequently reconstructed in the narratives. I adopted the model proposed by Jonathan Clifton and Dorien Van De Mieroop (2016) to explain how the narratives are organized by the interactions between interviewees/researcher and by the construction of versions socially located in these historical facts. Primarily, there are some historical data concerning social and economic features in Haiti. After that, it presents the policies for the social integration of immigrants in Brazil, especially Haitians.

Keywords: Migration; Intervention; Haiti; Brazilian Policies

Introduction

Although an evaluation of historical accuracy of the narratives is not part of the scope, a previous knowledge of the situation is important for interpreting the data in the following chapters. In this chapter, I will offer a brief historical overview about Haiti and its migratory tradition as well as Haitians migratory move to Rio de Janeiro. Before entering...

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