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In-depth interviews were conducted with 7 second-generation Indian American students between 17 and 21 years of age to study their ethnic identity formation. Respondents were college students who came from families that represented the earlier waves of post-1965 Indian immigrants, highly educated middle- and upper-class professionals. The interviews were preceded by a survey of 48 Boston (Massachusetts) area college students to develop information about issues related to ethnic identity. As visible minorities, many second-generation Indian Americans find the ascription of ethnic identity by others to be an important factor that constrains options for identification. Others are mistaken for members of other ethnic groups, making the subjectivity of ethnic identification particularly relevant to them. Regional and religious identities may promote or conflict with Indian identity. Family expectations and gender role ideals also may sharpen the experience of being culturally different for second-generation adolescents. This exploratory study suggests that ethnic identity is dynamic and complex for Indian American adolescents. Suppressing or enacting cultural schemas in different contexts is just one strategy that may be used by second-generation adolescents in response to complex sets of pressures. They must negotiate an array of social identities, many of which can be considered ethnic. Appendixes contain the interview guide and two illustrative schema-maps of identity. (Contains 47 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Acculturation, College Students, Cultural Differences, Ethnic Groups, Ethnicity, Higher Education, Immigrants, Indians, Interviews, Minority Groups, Parent Child Relationship, Racial Identification, Religious Cultural Groups

Autor: Maira, Sunaina


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