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Arab-American male identity negotiations: caught in the crossroads of ethnicity, religion, nationality and current contexts

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We examine how the identities of male adolescents of Arab descent (ArD) relate to their current physical and phenomenological contexts and to the negative fallout from recent ethnicity-related political events. Seventy-seven ArD adolescents in seven United States middle schools with varying proportions of ArD students participated in focus-group interviews. Qualitative analysis provides evidence that adolescents' social identities depended on complex combinations of personal, situational, and contextual factors. Findings extend Spencer's PVEST theory, demonstrating that the salience of adolescents' national, pan-Arab, hyphenated Arab-American, or assimilated American identity stems from phenomenological experiences within their current context and from the cognitive processes and associated affects of their prior experiences in other proximal and distal contexts.
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Keywords: Arab-American adolescent; assimilation; discrimination; identity; inter-group relationships; masculinity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA 2: Combined Program in Education and Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2014

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