Multiculturalism, Identity And Belonging Analysis

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Multiculturalism, identity and belonging are three concepts which are crucial when talking about the ways that migrants integrate into their settler countries and also the ways in which societies facilitate this integration. Multiculturalism, identity and belonging are concepts which exist on both macro and micro levels – that is, there is the broader concept to consider but there is also the individual to consider. This essay will endeavour to explore these three concepts on a broad, theoretical level, but will also extrapolate what these broader concepts mean on some smaller, individual scales. For multiculturalism, this means exploring its benefits and also its shortcomings. For identity and belonging, this means exploring what may help …show more content…
A specific identity cannot be given a single definition, and identities may exist outside traditional definitions of the concept. Identity, much like multiculturalism, is a concept which is broad in definition (La Barbera 2014, p. 1). The idea of “national” identity is often explored as an important aspect of wider identity, particularly when focusing on settler countries, and that can simply be considered as “the political-cultural identification with territory” (McCrone and Bechhofer 2008, p. 1245). However, the limitations of a definition of national identity are that it requires that identity to be tied to the settler nation, which is not always necessarily the case. National identity presents a rigid definition of identity when, in an increasingly pluralistic and multicultural world, identity is more fluid. It is generally difficult and perhaps unhelpful to try and define identity itself, and is instead more important to look at the way in which identity is flexible and the way it adapts between differing social circles and cultures (Suarez-Orozco 2008, p. 137). Identity is perhaps the most reliant of the three concepts on the others – multiculturalism looks to preserve and cultivate particular senses of identity, and identity often helps promote a sense of …show more content…
It exists in many forms and within many spaces, but in the context of multiculturalism and identity, it becomes more specific. There are particular ways in which migrants’ sense of belonging can be fostered, but also ways in which it can be overlooked. Belonging can be seen, in one of its most basic forms, as a human need. When exploring the concept of belonging alongside migration, we can explore how belonging is often desired in “the most rigid form where [it is] expressed through the image of a class consciousness” (Delanty, Wodak & Jones 2011, p. 21). Noble and Poynting describe belonging as not being an abstract concept, but instead as being “grounded in movement in and through specific places” (Noble & Poynting 2010, p. 490). They go on to explain that, despite this, these movements are again on a micro level, and are affected by different cultural experiences and forms of social exclusion (Noble & Poynting 2010, p. 21). The idea of belonging is one that is easily dismissed as only a result of a multiculturalist society in which a migrant forms an identity. However, its relationship with multiculturalism and identity is far greater than that, and ultimately belonging is integral to the functioning of the two

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