Identity Denial and Borrowing among Forced Migrants in Host Countries: A Discursive Psychological Perspective

Dieu Hack-Polay


This article explores identity formation, change and use of multiple identities among forced migrants. The
research, a longitudinal study lasting two years between 2009 and 2011, was conducted through interviews with,
and observation of, five migrants. The use of the longitudinal study was geared at compensating for the limited
sample size. The findings led to the conclusion that identity could be an individual construct since individuals
may have the capacity to decide who they aspire to be and shape themselves in particular selves. The research
found that choices may not be free but conditioned by social and environmental factors. For migrants, identity
formation is therefore constrained by the need to maintain the native identity as well as espouse [or borrow] host
and imagined identities in order to integrate into societies and manage the effects of displacement and loss. The
research suggests that identity manipulation could be a social and psychological survival tactics, commanding
further inquiry.

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International Journal of Psychological Studies   ISSN 1918-7211 (Print)   ISSN 1918-722X (Online)

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education


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