Points of View and the reconciliation of Identity Oppositions: examples from the Maltese in Britain

  • Gordon Sammut University of Malta


This paper presents the findings of a case study of Maltese migrants to Britain. In the absence of a cohesive community, Maltese migrants to Britain are required to negotiate a new social reality at the individual level. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals can relate to alternative perspectives in different ways (Sammut & Gaskell, 2010). The present study demonstrates that individuals with different points of view negotiate different identities that serve to position them functionally within one or both social realities. Individuals with monological points of view elaborated exclusive identities that positioned them well in a single social setting. Individuals with dialogical points of view elaborated hierarchical identities, holding their own bicultural identities as superior. This had further positioning ramifications. In contrast, individuals
with metalogical points of view elaborated non-hierarchical, chameleon or individualistic identities, by which they positioned themselves functionally in both social settings. For metalogical types, belonging to one group meant that one was neither more nor less a member of the other group. These findings thus add a third type to Duveen's dual-typology of identity strategies in the reconciliation of oppositional categories.

Author Biography

Gordon Sammut, University of Malta

GORDON SAMMUT is Associate Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Malta and doctoral candidate in social psychology at the London School of Economics & Political Science. He is working on developing the concept of the 'point of view', drawing on the works of Asch, in light of the theory of social representations. His main interests include psychosocial models in the social sciences, attitude measurement and public opinion, the epistemology of representations and phenomena, gestalt social psychology, and issues relating to opinion formation and argumentation.