Negotiating Gender Social Identity in a Context of Migration

  • Rebecca Weber Université de Lyon II, France
Keywords: gender, identity, representations, migration, transmission


The present paper draws on the intersection of gender social identity and social

representations theories to apprehend how identities are negotiated in a context of

migration. The study specifically examines social gender identity transmission amongst a

community of Sub-Saharan African migrants in France. Interviews with adult migrants

(31 interviewees), a focus group with teenage children of migrants (7 participants) and

ethnographic observations (1 year, twice-weekly) reveal how ethnic stigmatization

resulting from a new context highlights their recourse to stable gender norms and

religious practices. Lack of social recognition amongst parents orients them towards the

future, embodied by their children who experience a contradictory double-bind to

subscribe to both present and inherited gender identities. Social gender identity projects

are at stake through the children’s adoption or rejection of their parents proposed social

practices that defend certain representations of gender. By gathering the perspective of

migrant parents and children, social gender identity, as a function of representations of

gender, appears at the heart of processes of identity negotiation.

Author Biography

Rebecca Weber, Université de Lyon II, France

Is a Clinical Psychologist working towards her doctorate in Social Psychology at the Université

de Lyon II in France, and is notably interested in the study of identity within contexts of change.

Her research examines social gender identity transmission amongst migrant families, in addition

to social cohesion in school settings.