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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17271

Title: The Spatiality of Social Identities: Taiwanese Migrant Women Practice Everyday Spaces in Toronto
Authors: Wu, Chin-Yen
Advisor: Ruddick, Susan M.
Department: Geography
Keywords: Spatiality
Social Identity
Migration
Issue Date: 26-Feb-2009
Abstract: What part does migration play in the construction and reconstruction of social identity? What kind of social relations are produced and reproduced through the migration process? What are the manifestations of power involved in the process of constructing and negotiating social identities through space? These are the central questions in this research. This research not only draws upon current literature on migrant women, but also expands it to address the complexity of construction of social identities and places through migration processes by incorporating critical social theories and feminist geography into the research. I examine embodied geographical experiences and the geography of emotions, by looking at current Taiwanese migrant women’s everyday practices in Toronto. This research provides concrete examples – from a substantial sample of individuals – to support feminist geographers’ arguments on women’s experiences in space. I employ Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to illustrate how personal and private space is constructed and reconstructed by a complex interplay between different discourses and practices, and how new spaces and practices are created for new identity claims. I also examine how the dynamics of habitus shifts through displacement. By looking at the generative aspect of habitus, this research extends the existing scope of the notion of habitus. Collecting more than 125 hours of in-depth interviews with Taiwanese migrant women in Toronto, I examine multidimensional re-configurations of the everyday practices of Taiwanese migrant women in Toronto. Research findings regarding the hidden geography of everyday language practice, the reconstruction of food culture and the exploration of culinary practice, the negotiation of home practice, and the creation of new spaces for new identity claims provide a complicated picture that grasps the contingency and fluidity of identity construction. In addition to concepts of ‘third space’ and ‘paradoxical space,’ my research shows that metaphoric expressions, what I call ‘glass wall’, ‘comfort zone’, ‘unlocked spaces’, ‘dialogical space’ and ‘provocative space’ are important to unveil dynamic pictures of geographical experiences along migration. Indeed, space plays an integral role in the making of social identity.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17271
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geography - Doctoral theses

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