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Title:Asian Indians in the United States: An analysis of identity formation and retention
Author(s):Pettys, Gregory Lee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Balgopal, P.R.
Department / Program:Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social Work
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:This is a descriptive, exploratory study which examines how Asian Indian immigrants to the United States form a new identity while maintaining aspects of their traditional culture. This project analyzed three generations of family members and their respective impact on identity formation. Interviews were conducted with the children, the parents, and (for eight families) the extended family in India. Symbolic interaction theory and interpretive interaction methodology served as a foundation for this research.
To control for regional and religious differences, Hindu immigrants from the state of Tamil Nadu were used in this study. Thirty Tamilian families recruited from a Chicago area Tamil Association participated in this study. Participants were generated using snowballing, a non-probability, purposive sampling technique. Data was gathered through interviews using an unstructured interview schedule and participant observation at various cultural and religious functions. Data was also gathered in India by interviewing extended family members of eight of the participant families.
Results of the study show the various areas in which these families strive to maintain their cultural identity. For this group, there tends to be a larger emphasis on their regional identity rather than a pan-Indian identity. Family identity remains central among the three generations. Family identity is explored as an aspect of a global Hindu identity. Themes and conflicts which emerge for the immigrants as they struggle to develop a bi-cultural identity are elucidated, as well as various means used to resolve these conflicts. Implications for social workers, and others working with Asian Indians, are explored. The strengths of using an interpretive method for answering these kinds of questions, as well as the limitations of the study and directions for future research, are discussed.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Pettys, Gregory Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512513
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512513

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