Publication details for Prof Mike FlemingDe Korne, H., Byram, M. & Fleming, M. (2007). Familiarising the Stranger: Immigrant Perceptions of Cross-cultural interaction and Bicultural Identity. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 28(4): 290-307.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- Keywords: bicultural, identity, intercultural, cross-cultural, immigrant, bicultural competence, Simmel
Author(s) from Durham
As contact between cultures continues to increase, the impact that this has on cultural identity and belonging is unclear. Cross-cultural or bicultural identification remains a relatively unexplored phenomenon. Is it possible, natural or potentially good to have an identity rooted in more than one culture? If so, how is cross-cultural identity negotiated? Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nine women who have lived as immigrants in the UK or the USA for at least 20 years. The focus was on the experience of cross-cultural identification, including its benefits and drawbacks. The variety of experience does not permit generalisation at this stage, but the main characteristics of being bicultural in their experience include heightened self-awareness and understanding of difference, and a potential for critical, objective perspective on their environment. It is argued that emphasising the benefits of bicultural identity can be an important step toward improving cross-cultural interaction.