Splitting the Difference: Exploring the Experiences of Identity and Community Among Biracial and Bisexual People in Nova Scotia

Splitting the Difference: Exploring the Experiences of Identity and Community Among Biracial and Bisexual People in Nova Scotia

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
April 2011
82 pages

Samantha Loppie

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

The term ‘bicultural’ has been gaining acknowledgment in sociological and psycho-social research and literature. It refers to identity construction which internalizes of more than one cultural identity by an individual. This thesis uses qualitative methods and a grounded theory research design to explore how bicultural (biracial and bisexual) people navigate identity and community in Nova Scotia. While similar research has been conducted on racial and sexual identities elsewhere, this study looks to fill some of the gaps in bicultural research by specifically dealing with it in an Atlantic Canadian context. Living in a social environment steeped in historical discrimination and political struggle exerts significant influence on the identities and communities of bicultural people in Nova Scotia. The thesis research findings suggest that while social environment often creates divisions and dichotomy when interpreting bicultural identities, bicultural people manage to maintain an integrated sense of self within this environment.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter One: Introduction
  • Chapter Two: Literature Review
    • Biculturalism: A Foot in Both Doors
    • Creating Context: Nova Scotia
    • Bicultural Identity: Biracial and Bisexual
    • Black and Queer: Exploring Marginalized Community
    • Discrimination and Privilege
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter Three: Methodology
    • Definition of Terms
    • Qualitative Method and Research Design
    • Participant Selection
    • Research Participants
    • Data Collection
    • Ethics
    • Data Management and Analysis
  • Chapter Four: A Place to Belong
    • Identity and Social Context: Nova Scotia
    • How People Talk About Identity Labels
    • Conceptualizing Identity
    • Influence and Development of Identity
    • Expressions of Identity
    • Identity Interactions with Community
    • Divergent Communities
    • Discrimination and Advantage
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter Five: Conclusion: Finding Middle Ground
    • Foundations of Dichotomy: Nova Scotia
    • Seeing the Self Through Other’ Eyes: Self and Social Identity
    • Rejected and Accepted: Community Interactions
    • More Than Half: Discrimination and Legitimacy for Bicultural People
    • Invisible Advantage: Role of Privilege in Bicultural Identity
    • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A – Interview Questions and Guide
    • Appendix B – Consent Form
    • Appendix C – Code List

Read the entire dissertation here.

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