Caught in the Middle: the Construction, Expression, and Transformation of Identity Among Haitian Youth in Montreal.
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation examines identity issues among Haitian youth in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Because Haitians are the largest group of "visible minorities" in the province and are an integral part of the Quebec mosaic, the distinctive "sense of belonging" felt by youth in the Haitian community necessitates further inquiry into what connections they (Haitian youth) have with both the majority Quebecois culture and the minority Haitian immigrant culture of Montreal. Since Quebec is a Francophone society in a North America that is majority Anglophone, this linguistic and cultural confusion sometimes results in immigrant youth assuming multiple identities in order to "fit in," and survive. The present study examines two groups of Haitian youth: Young Haitians born in Haiti, and those born in Quebec. In this dissertation, I research how these two groups construct, express, and transform their identity as a result of the surrounding environment. To do this, this dissertation presents data from a cultural, sociological, and sociolinguistic intervention undertaken with 108 young Haitians from Montreal, aged 17 to 25, who were interviewed during the Summer of 2000. Two sets of interviews were prepared: A short questionnaire, and a long personal interview. The schema of these two interviews researched various pre selected issues relating to identity, with the premise of delineating how Haitian youth felt concerning these issues. These interviews took place throughout the Island of Montreal in various locales (on public transportation, in parks, at festivals, etc.). The results of these inquiries were tabulated, categorized, and arranged into numerical tables and graphs, which can be found in the sixth, seventh and eighth chapters of the present dissertation, with a subsequent chapter analyzing these findings. It was discovered that Haitian youth in Montreal, (as is the case with other immigrant youth), possess multiple identities, and are not deconstructed and reconfigured into a single set category, as they borrow from the two cultures that surround them (the majority Quebecois culture, and the heritage Haitian culture), forming their own distinct category. This dissertation concludes with a discussion of the implication of the findings for future study on the Quebec Allophone community.
Pegram, Earl Floyd scooter, "Caught in the Middle: the Construction, Expression, and Transformation of Identity Among Haitian Youth in Montreal." (2001). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 429.