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Issues of identity can be tricky for refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants in general. From an essentialist perspective, finding oneself dislocated from the place where one was born and grew up, from the community where one’s ancestors had deep connections and ties, and perhaps where one feels that one belongs, is difficult to deal with. The research question that is being investigated is as follows: in what ways do people of the 1.5-generation (particularly given to the Ethiopian 1.5-generation) in the diaspora represent themselves, and what are the ways in which they negotiate and construct their identities? As the first part of the question indicates, by asking ‘in what ways,’ it is evident that there is no single response. This paper argues that while the process of identity formation may in general be difficult, this process is intensified and becomes more complex in the case of the 1.5-generation of forced migrants, often leading to a painful ‘struggle for belonging.’

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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