Contextual Identity among Liberian Refugees in Ghana

Identity Salience in a Protracted Refugee Situation

Jennifer Byrne, Jennifer Byrne, Gregory C. Dixon, Amy Catalinac

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of a protracted refugee situation on identity among Liberian refugees in Ghana. A strong national identity was observed among Liberians within the context of Buduburam Refugee Camp, despite previous ethnic divisions in their home country during the two Liberian civil wars. According to social identity theory, individuals may hold several identities at one time, but the expression of these identities are dependent on context. Using a grounded theory approach, I find three theoretical explanations for this phenomenon. Three identity primes heightened the salience of being Liberian. First, identity discontinuity resulting from trauma focused awareness on shared past experiences, creating a shared generational identity among residents at Buduburam. Second, a shared refugee status, and third, shared perceptions of difference between the Liberians and Ghanaians, played key roles in activating and sustaining a collective national identity among Liberian refugees in Ghana. Related Articles: Byrne, Jennifer, and Gregory C. Dixon. 2013. “Reevaluating American Attitudes toward Immigrants in the Twenty-First Century: The Role of a Multicreedal National Identity.” Politics & Policy 42 (1): 83-116. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/polp.12002/abstract. Catalinac, Amy L. 2007. “Identity Theory and Foreign Policy: Explaining Japan's Responses to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. War in Iraq.” Politics & Policy 35 (1): 58-100. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-1346.2007.00049.x/abstract. Simon-Kumar, Rachel, and Catherine Kingfisher. 2011. “Beyond Transformation and Regulation: Productive Tensions and the Analytics of Inclusion.” Politics & Policy 39 (2): 271-294. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-1346.2011.00291.x/abstract. Related Media: Buduburam. n.d. “Home for Homeless People.” http://buduburam.com/. CCTV Africa. 2014. “Liberian Refugees in Ghana.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k85CJe5JWAw.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)751-782
    Number of pages32
    JournalPolitics and Policy
    Volume44
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2016

    Fingerprint

    Ghana
    refugee
    national identity
    politics
    gulf war
    collective identity
    grounded theory
    civil war
    Iraq
    twenty-first century
    foreign policy
    trauma
    Japan
    immigrant
    inclusion
    resident
    regulation
    experience

    Keywords

    • Asylum Seekers
    • Contextual Identity
    • Ethnic Identity
    • Exile
    • Ghana
    • Grounded Theory Approach
    • Identity and Borders
    • Identity and Difference
    • Identity Discontinuity
    • Identity Salience
    • Intergroup Conflict
    • Intergroup Relations
    • Liberia
    • Liberian Civil Wars
    • National Identity
    • Protracted Refugees
    • Refugees
    • Social Construction of Identity
    • Social Identity Theory
    • Sub-Saharan Africa

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Contextual Identity among Liberian Refugees in Ghana : Identity Salience in a Protracted Refugee Situation. / Byrne, Jennifer; Byrne, Jennifer; Dixon, Gregory C.; Catalinac, Amy.

    In: Politics and Policy, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2016, p. 751-782.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Byrne, Jennifer ; Byrne, Jennifer ; Dixon, Gregory C. ; Catalinac, Amy. / Contextual Identity among Liberian Refugees in Ghana : Identity Salience in a Protracted Refugee Situation. In: Politics and Policy. 2016 ; Vol. 44, No. 4. pp. 751-782.
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