Chapter

Migration biography and ethnic identity: on the discontinuity of biographical experience and how turning points affect the ethnicisation of identity

Thea D. Boldt

in Biography and turning points in Europe and America

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428608
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307655 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847428608.003.0005
Migration biography and ethnic identity: on the discontinuity of biographical experience and how turning points affect the ethnicisation of identity

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Boldt investigates whether overt change like immigration is necessarily a turning point for the actor. Boldt examines a case study of a 50-year-old Polish migrant in Germany who exemplifies certain biographical strategies when dealing with unexpected and sometimes dramatic biographical changes like migration. She analyses how the dynamics of turning points are connected to the phenomenon of ethnicization of biographical experiences and finds that, in this instance, it emerges with the need for personal belonging to an ethnic group. Most important, she argues that in case of migration biographies, we must recognize that biographical reinterpretation processes are not random and do not happen throughout the life course; instead, structures are more often reproduced or reiterated rather than transformed, and turning points are often centred on an initial turning point and are structured accordingly.

Keywords: Turning points; ethnicization; biographical reinterpretation; biographical strategies

Chapter.  11854 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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