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Identities of Migration

A Narrative-based Approach to the Studies of Social Representation


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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4. The Negotiation of Identity and the Creation of New Social Representations in Narratives of Migration


“Dear,dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”31

Abstract: This chapter presents the concept of sociolinguistic representation and outlines the role of identities in the migration process. The analysis of sociolinguistic representations considers both aspects of the linguistic field plus the social and cultural relations involved in the research. For the first, I assume that the presence of the researcher influences the data provided by the subjects and that the social positions they occupy interfere with the interaction, production, collection and analysis of the corpus. For the second, I understand that the claims of the subjects do not occur by themselves as they are relatively determined by the individuals’ cultural association. Cross-genre narratives are made up of a research diary, informal face-to-face conversations without the use of a tape recorder, conflicts during Portuguese classes, collective recorded conversations, informal written dialogues exchanged through the messenger app, and individual interviews.

Keywords: Negotiation of Identity; Narratives; Textual Genres; New Social representations


The solution for Alice’s puzzle is also crucial in the study of the migration phenomenon. Identity – of a subject or...

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