Identity Construction in Canada’s Linguistic Minority Youth: Moving Toward Hybridity?*

By Marie Drolet, Arcand Isabelle and Guay Marie-Claude.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Canada’s French linguistic minority faces major challenges in constructing its cultural identity. Its traditional, uniform cultural perspective does not match the experiences of its youth in the context of diversity. This study attempts to explore challenges faced by francophone minority youth in Canada in terms of identity construction (Hogg & Adams, 2003; Tajfel & Turner, 1986). The first stage, conducted in 2007, involved 20 qualitative interviews with school personnel and social workers recruited from social services and French high schools in Eastern Ontario. The second stage (2009) consisted of 18 qualitative interviews with students attending some of the same schools (n=12) and their parents (n=6). Deductive and inductive analysis (Huberman & Miles, 1991) of the transcripts suggests the different stakeholders have contrasting views of how francophone youth perceive their cultural identity, suggesting a clear intergenerational gap. Bilingualism, which has become an identity factor for minority youth, may be viewed as the process of building a hybrid identity (Nilan & Feixa, 2006). This perspective highlights young people’s desire to be open to plural worlds and to interact in our ever-changing societies with a constructive vision of cultural globalization.

Keywords: Linguistic Minority, Identity Construction, Cultural Identity, Bilingualism, Hybridity, Youth

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.151-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 638.354KB).

Dr. Marie Drolet

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Following a 15-year career as a social worker, I obtained a Ph.D at University Laval in Quebec in 1994, with a specialization in youth issues. Since then, I have published articles in North America and Europe on the development of adolescents with a focus on social integration, family issues and youth violence. The Presses de l’Université du Québec has published my jointly authored book on relationships between schools and families. As a senior researcher in two research centres, I am working on the integration of youth in the francophone linguistic minority community, specifically in the respect of diversity.

Arcand Isabelle

Doctoral Student, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

After a baccalaureat in psychology and a master in physical education, Madame Arcand is finishing her doctoral studies in education. Her interests are on youth integration.

Guay Marie-Claude

Master Student, School of Social Work, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

After a baccalaureat in psychology, Madame Guay is completing a master in social work.


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