Conflicting Ambivalence of Haitian Identity-Making in South Florida

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Linstroth, J. P.; Alison Hall; Mamyrah Douge-Prosper & Patrick Hiller (2009) Conflicting Ambivalence of Haitian Identity-Making in South Florida, Forum: Qualitative Social Research 10(3).

This article discusses constructions of identity, home, and belonging among first and second-generation Haitian-migrants living in South Florida. Conflicting polarities mark the lived experiences of the Haitian interviewees, and as such, migration theories of integration as the "melting pot" or "salad bowl," are rendered useless for understanding immigrant experiences. To another degree, the notion of social hybridity is elaborated upon for its resonance to ontological concepts among Haitian-Americans, especially in regard to the push and pull of living in the United States with remaining sentiments toward Haiti. For many of our Haitian informants the notion of class stratification defined their perceptions of selfhood. So too, our Haitian-American interviewees described their differences from other Afro-descendant experiences as African-Americans, further situating their Haitian-ness as being unique. What is clear from analyzing narratives of these Haitian-Americans is the mutability of their imagining belonging-ness and the polyvalent meanings associated with their ambivalent identities.

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