Ethnic Identity Among Mixed-Heritage People In Hawaii

Ethnic Identity Among Mixed-Heritage People In Hawaii

Symbolic Interaction
Volume 14, Number 3 (Fall 1991)
Pages 261–277
DOI 10.1525/si.1991.14.3.261

Cookie White Stephan, Emeritus Professor of Sociology
New Mexico State University

In this study, intensive interviews were used to explore the identity of a sample of mixed-heritage Hawaiian college students from a variety of ethnic groups. The great majority of respondents listed at least one multiple-heritage identity (e.g., Chinese-Japanese). While cultural exposure and ethnic identity were strongly associated, cultural exposure is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for ethnic identity to occur. Differences in perceptions of ethnic identity between respondents with stable and situtionally changing identities were discussed. The conceptions of identity proposed by processual and structural symbolic interactionists both received some support in these data.

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