The social construction of identities and intergroup experiences : the case of second generation Bangladeshis in Britain
The aim of this thesis is to study the social construction of `identities' and 'inter- group' experiences from the perspective of a group of second generation Bangladeshis adults from London and Sheffield. The thesis is divided into two sections. The first section summarises and critiques various models of the psychological subject, which have been influential in approaches to the understanding of `ethnic' and `cross-cultural psychology' and the psychology of `inter-group relations. Part 1 of the thesis is also concerned with methodological issues which arise when studying phenomena such as `identity' and `racism', particularly issues which consider how best to theorise subjectivity whilst still wanting to acknowledge political concerns. A new approach to studying such phenomena is developed, based on the `discursive' approaches advanced by authors such as Wetherell and Potter (1992) and Burman and Parker (1993). Part 2 of the thesis consists of three analyses which look at the social construction of identities and inter-group experiences of a group of second generation Bangladeshi adults. Chapter 5 focuses on how identities are constructed as, for example "successful" or "powerful". Chapter 6 is concerned with broad discourses which are used to construct racism and ways to deal with it. Finally, chapter 7 focuses on the intersections of `race' and gender in the construction of identities by a group of second generation Bangladeshi women. The analyses demonstrate the rhetorical nature of such constructions in everyday talk, and also the ideological consequences of certain discourses which are (re)produced. It also shows how social psychology in Britain has often perpetuated and legitimated such discourses. The thesis concludes with a summary and discussion of the findings of each study. It also draws attention to some wider tensions and debates which have arisen from carrying out this research.