Reference : What’s in a name? Identity, indexicality and name-change in an immigrant context
Scientific journals : Article
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
Migration and Inclusive Societies
What’s in a name? Identity, indexicality and name-change in an immigrant context
Obojska, Maria mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM) >]
European Journal of Applied Linguistics
De Gruyter
Capitalizing on linuistic diversity in education
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] The present study explores the case of a transnational Polish family in Norway in which one of the care givers as well as the teenage son underwent a name change after their initial experiences of migration. Drawing on the audio-recorded interactions in the interview situation, the article investigates the identity constructions of the focal participant in his narrative about the name change. To this end, first, the indexicalities of the social identity category Pole as constructed in Norwegian media and the participants’ accounts are outlined. Then, against this backdrop, the focal participant’s identity claims as occasioned in the narrative on the name change are discursively analyzed. The analysis shows that the identity claims the focal participant makes aim at dissociating himself from the powerless, stigmatized position of a migrant, in which he was cast upon his arrival in Norway. Furthermore, the study suggests that migrant identity constructions need to be considered against the participants’ lived experiences of migration, larger societal discourses and against participants’ constructions of belonging to imagined communities.

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