Social construction of transnational identity
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This paper investigates how migration to Australia affects New Zealanders’ sense of identity. New Zealanders living in Australia have both an enhanced sense of their New Zealand identity and a new transnational identity, created through their experiences and interactions within their new society together with their continued contact with their country of origin. Identity construction and reconstruction is examined through the lens of social constructionism, identity theory including optimal distinctiveness theory and the concept of transnationalism. Both social and symbolic constructionism provide frameworks. The concept of transnationalism allows for individual diversity and collective similarity to co-exist.
Transcripts of 32 interviews with New Zealanders living in Australia were reviewed using Nvivo qualitative computer software and the concepts so derived were analysed using the framework of social constructionism, identity theory and transnationalism. Rather than seeing migration as the loss of one national identity, analysis of this data shows it to be rather the building of a transnational identity that derives from both the country of origin and the host country.