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Title:Evolving ethnic identity and recognizing relatedness: An examination of ethnic and family identity development among African Americans reuniting with extra-extended relatives from Africa
Author(s):David, LaKisha Tawanda
Director of Research:Smith, Sharde' M
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Smith, Sharde' M
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Jarrett, Robin; Larson, Reed; Zerai, Assata
Department / Program:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Discipline:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):ethnic identity development
family identity development
family reunification
Abstract:African Americans are increasingly using genetic genealogy to go beyond the vague estimates of ancestral ethnicities to identify genetic matches with people who are within two generations of migration from Africa or who still live on the African continent. An African and African American genetic match engaging with one another as relatives presents an emerging situation that challenges our understanding of families and identity. African Americans engage in genetic genealogy for African ancestry, genealogical research, and formation of ties with African ancestral homelands. Ethnic identity develops through ethnic socialization and periods of ethnic identity exploration and commitment. As relatives from Africa share knowledge about their ethnicity with African American relatives, African Americans have new agents of socialization and new information to inform their ethnic identity. Family identity as a psychological sense of belonging to a specific family group develops through family socialization and internalizing a family heritage which gives them a social location within the family narrative. Notably, existing studies on family identity development focus on adolescent populations rather than adult populations. This study used grounded theory methods to develop a grounded theory on family identity development and ethnic identity development among African Americans who engaged in social interactions with their extra-extended relatives from Africa. The objectives of this study are to examine (1) the familial and ethnic meanings of relatedness with an African genetic match, (2) the processes of family and ethnic identity development within the context of ancestral family reunification, and (3) psychological outcomes associated with family and ethnic identity development within the context of ancestral family reunification. Examining the collective experiences of the participants of this study, participants felt (1) a sense of lack in African ancestral history and (2) an evolving ethnic identity while (3) recognizing relatedness, and (4) managing many emotions associated with the experience. New family forms are taking shape through emerging African transnational families which provides a new social context for the ethnic identity development for African American adults.
Issue Date:2021-04-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 LaKisha Tawanda David
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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