Search Swinburne Research Bank
This object has not yet been indexed by the background indexing service.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/151169
|Download PDF (Published version) (Adobe Acrobat PDF, -1 bytes)|
- Where are you from? The paradox of African identity and belonging in Australia
- Mapedzahama, Virgina; Kwansah-Aidoo, Kwamena
- This paper interrogates the question 'where are you from?' by drawing on our experiences and points of view as visibly different African migrants who get asked this 'quintessential question of identity' almost on a daily basis. While acknowledging that a certain 'curiosity‘ sometimes drives the asking of this question, we still question the implications and multiplicity of meanings to those whom it is asked. We contend that being asked the question raises three key issues for us. First, we perceive it as exclusionary, in that in a white dominated society it is asked, mainly of certain groups of people who are visibly different. Second, the assumption behind the question - that one is not 'from here', constructs an/other whose identity is fixed and tied only to one faraway place, thereby erasing our hyphenated identities, which define our everyday lived realities. Third, it invokes feelings of ambivalence about place when it is interpreted as demanding a justification of the claim to belonging and being 'from here‘. Our paper shows that the question is a matter of identity politics and exposes the complexity of identity work that occurs whenever this question is asked of us. In so doing, it highlights the contradiction between our Australian 'selves‘ and migrant 'other‘.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Proceedings of 'Social causes, private lives', the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA 2010), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 06-09 December 2010 / S. Velayutham, N. Ebert and S. Watkins (eds.)
- Publication year
- The Australian Sociological Association
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2010 Virgina Mapedzahama and Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo. The published version of the paper is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher.