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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Moskal, M., Sime, D., Tyrrell, N., McMellon, Ch. & Kelly, C. (2018). Eastern European Youth Identities in Uncertain Times. Research and Policy Briefing Number 5. Durham, Plymouth and Strathclyde Universities.

Author(s) from Durham


Young people talked about several factors that
were important to their sense of identity. Some key
dimensions of their identities were related to being
young migrants, their nationality and transnational
relationships with family and friends and also, the
languages they spoke and the multiple cultures they
were navigating. In the context of Brexit, their feelings
of being marginalised or not fully accepted also
impacted on their sense of identity and who they are.
There was often a disjuncture between what young
people identified as their nationality, often related to
their country of birth, and where the felt at home -
mostly in the UK.
Home was linked to a sense of identity and many
young people said they felt they had multiple homes.
This was generally seen as a positive thing, although
some young people described the challenges of living
between different cultures. Feelings of belonging often
resulted from feeling connected to people and places
which were familiar and welcoming.
For young migrants, identities are fragmented,
dynamic and changeable. Young people talked about
how their sense of identity had changed since they
had moved to the UK. For some, this was about
the process of growing older and maturing, while
others suggested that they had changed as a result of
Many Eastern European young people reflected
on their potentially hybrid identities and saw the
processes of their identity formation as in constant
flux, negotiable and consisting of multiple identities.

School of Education