Where Else Have You Been? The Effects of Diaspora Consciousness and Transcultural Mixtures on Ethnic Identity

Niranjala Weerakkody
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
In social science research, the demographic categories of ethnicity are linked to what the census bureau considers as a person’s ethnic heritage. However, these categories are based on the societal assumption that members of a given category share the same characteristics and life experiences, even though the heterogeneity between members within a category may be as diverse as between categories. The paper examines the 15 interview subjects of a research study drawn from 10 minority migrant groups, where seven of them indicated significant transcultural experiences before migrating to Australia. It argues that their lived experiences and subjectivity vary from others who migrated directly from their native countries. The formers’ diaspora consciousness and transcultural mixtures may introduce an artifact to a research study’s design, affecting the validity of the data collected. The paper examines other situations where this anomaly can occur and proposes precautions to minimize its negative effects.
Demographic categories, ethnic identity, cultural identity, diaspora consciousness, transcultural mixtures, ethnic minorities, validity of research data, cultural identification, confounding variables, qualitative research.
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