Cultural Schizophrenia

In globalized world societies individuals no longer have simple, ready-made, and fixed cultural identities- instead they have “cultural schizophrenia” (Shayegan, 1992, p. 122).

The United States and the world stand at the precipice of one of the most continuous and significant evolutions of humanity, migrations. If we look at the human record, it reads like a patchwork of individuals coming and going over large swaths of land for hundreds and even thousands of years. Immigration is the driving force behind many of the most major shifts in the United States. Such driving forces are in fact a remarkable part of the United States in which the flows of various cultures, languages, and experiences have melded onto the proverbial fabric of America. From this vantage point, we can witness the natural and culturally diverse world of the U.S. with groups of people moving in and out of communities from the past into the present.

In the United States, there has been an extraordinary transformation in the immigrant population from the early 19th and 20th-century up until today. In which scores of immigrants originated from Europe to the current predominance of Latin American and Asian immigration in the late 20th and early 21st centuries which has led to a substantial change in the overall character of the United States population (Immigration Policy Network, 2016). Whatever their fundamental reasons for migration which can range from political persecution, fleeing from wars or religious oppression, looking for and finding work, and often coming to join other family members often for a better future for their children. Today the U.S. immigrant population is international, at more than 42.4 million, or 13.3 percent, of the total U.S. population of 318.9 million according to American Community Survey (ACS, 2016) data. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2014, the foreign-born population increased by 1 million, or 2.5 percent. These unique characteristics over the last one hundred years have brought immigrants to the United States who collectively share a multitude of identities, languages, and cultures.

However, fragility exists between belonging and identity among immigrants. In sharing their story, we should be faithful to both of these aspects while considering how immigrant groups comprehend their place and space within the framework of kingships, friends, schooling, and community.

In these writings, I intend to offer a perspective of immigrant communities and to look at the hybridity of cultural practices. Mainly cultural practices between households and the community. In this way, I can analyze the absorption of the familial, communal, and schooling funds and to understand how communities transmit pieces of American culture into their cultural practices and by what means (if any) they maintain the symbolic traits of their heritage.

To paraphrase the scholar Stuart Hall (1992) what we write and how we speak always comes from a particular place and time, from a history and a culture which is unique to us as our voice continues to rise and resonate to tell yet another untold story, a story unfolding within these pages.

 

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