IDENTITY: Understanding Aspects of Process, Content, and Structure in Context

Fanny Gyberg

The overall results of Study II, which treated aspects of identity content, indicated that most of the ethnicity-related experiences narrated by the young participants concerned various types of awareness of difference, with stories about not fitting in being common. The feeling of not fitting in may make it harder to achieve an integrated ethnic identity. Having an integrated ethnic identity, meaning feeling part of both one’s ethnic group and larger society, is important, as it has been linked to several positive outcomes, such as positive psychological functioning and well-being (Kiang et al., 2008; Quintana, 2007; Rivas-Drake et al., 2014b; Smith & Silva, 2011; St. Louis & Liem, 2005; Syed & Juang, 2014; Wissink et al., 2008). This positive association between ethnic identity and measures of psychological adjustment has also been found in the Swedish cultural context (e.g., Vedder & Virta, 2005; Virta et al., 2004). However, most of the stories shared by the participants in Study II were about negative experiences. In line with the master narrative framework (see Galliher et al., 2017a; McLean et al., 2017, 2019; McLean & Syed, 2015) and in light of the previous studies mentioned, alongside the notions that Sweden has the most integrationpromoting policies in the world (MIPEX, 2015) and is supposed to be one of the top ten countries when it comes to having the happiest people (both native Swedes and migrants; Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs, 2018), we expected that people deviating from the norms and expectations of Swedish society would have created more positive alternative narratives. 

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