Community, identity and social group formations : a comparartive ethnograhic investigation and theoretical analysis of first generation migration into an English town
This research outlines the theoretical positions of Pierre Bourdieu's structuralist constructivism and Fredrik Barth's generative transactional ethnic process in relation to social practices, identity constructions and community formations of first generation migrant Muslims and Latina/Hispanic groups. It is proposed that although each theory appears to oppose the other, they can be synthesised to form a reflexive, mutually supportive and flexible discursive theoretical framework that can be effectively applied to the process of migration and its resultant social formations. The research theoretically considers the social delineation of such groups, the internal processes of group formation, and the significance of wider points of identity and belonging within group construction. It is found that the experiential process of migration is only made meaningful in relation to the current social world that both groups exist within and the subjective meanings of individuals collected within each group. Such subjective elements of knowledge often focus upon points of origin and current manifestations of identity. The research is based upon 12 months of residential fieldwork using methods of participant observation and various forms of interviewing.