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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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7. Representations of Migrations


Desta manera me fue forzado sacar fuerzas de flaqueza, y poco a poco, con ayuda de las buenas gentes, di comigo en esta insigne ciudad de Toledo, adonde, con la merced de Dios, dende a quince días se me cerró la herida. Y mientras estaba malo siempre me daban alguma limosna; mas después que estuve sano todos me decían: - Tú, bellaco y gallofero eres; busca un amo a quien sirvas48

Abstract: In this chapter, I offer an analysis of the most repeated primary representations to examine the construction of secondary representations. As abstractions collectively created, counter-representations are also important for grasping the dynamics of identity construction. To shed light on them, I suggest some questions to pinpoint the representations about migration to Brazil. Interviewees also have the chance to deconstruct the primary representations through their accounts on their individual experiences. The immigrants I interviewed describe language as the biggest challenge to enter the new society. This representation reflects the idea of society as a set that carries other subsets. Despite they are part of a subset, immigrants do not consider themselves as part of that society. They believe that to be accepted, they first need to leave that subset and enter another one with recognized symbolic capital. Thus, immigrants need to master the language modality regarded as the most correct. Firstly, I describe some common linguistic representations, then I approach the representations of alterity, space, and metaphorical ones.

Keywords: Linguistic...

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