An intergenerational perspective on migrant senses of identity and belonging: The case of Greek-Cypriot families in South West England, UK
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This thesis takes an intergenerational perspective to investigate how senses of identity and belonging are constructed in a Greek-Cypriot community in the UK. This aim is particularly necessary given increasing rates of migration and mobility worldwide, which has resulted in growing acknowledgment across a number of disciplines of the need to explore the everyday lives of migrants and how ethnic identities are reconstituted across all generations. Despite this acknowledgment, research on the third-generation remains limited. This thesis addresses this gap by exploring how three generations of Greek-Cypriot migrants express feelings of identity and belonging and engage with translocal spaces. It does so through exploring findings from forty-eight qualitative interviews and participant observations undertaken in an ethnographic setting. The results reveal how constructions of ethnic identity change across the generations as successive generations are situated between a number of competing cultural reference points. The importance of the family in creating a feeling of belonging is also revealed as well as the fluid and evolving nature of familial relationships. The thesis also identifies the significance of space and place in identity formation and argues that the importance of trans-local spaces should not be overlooked in favour of the trans-national. The research makes a valuable contribution to geography by enhancing understandings about the everyday lives of migrants and the ‘doings’ of families. It also contributes to understandings of a relatively ‘invisible’ and under-researched white migrant group in the UK. Work that focuses on such ‘invisible’ migrant groups is particularly pertinent to broader studies of immigration into the UK.
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