Existential hazards of the multicultural individual: Defining and understanding ‚Äúcultural homelessness.‚ÄĚ

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2011-04-03 23:21Z by Steven

Existential hazards of the multicultural individual: Defining and understanding ‚Äúcultural homelessness.‚ÄĚ

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Volume 5, Number 1 (February 1999)
pages 6-26.
DOI: 10.1037/1099-9809.5.1.6

Veronica Navarrete-Vivero
University of North Texas

Sharon Rae Jenkins, Professor of Psychology
University of North Texas

Discusses cultural homelessness (CH), the unique experiences and feelings reported by some multicultural individuals. Ethnically related concepts found in the cross-cultural and multiethnic literature (eg., marginality, intercultural effectiveness, ethnic enclaves, and reference group) are used to explain how CH may arise from cross-cultural tensions within the ethnically mixed family and between the family and its culturally different environment, especially due to geographic moves. CH is conceptualized as a situationally imposed developmental challenge, forcing the child to accommodate to contradictory and changing norms, values, verbal and nonverbal communication styles, and attachment processes. Culturally homeless individuals may enjoy a broader, stronger cognitive and social repertoire because of their multiple cultural frames of reference. However, code-switching complexities may lead to emotional and social confusion, which, if internalized, may result in self-blame and shame. Culturally encoded emotion labeling may be disrupted, leading to alexithymia.

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