Acculturation, identification and hybridity: cultural identity negotiation among young Australians of Indonesian origin

2017-05-15T06:46:00Z (GMT) by Bukhori Muslim, Ahmad
This urban ethnographic study seeks to investigate different ways by which twelve young Australians of Indonesian origin identify with Indonesia, the home country of their parents, and with Australia, their current country of settlement. Making use of semi-structured interviews, photo discussion, and observation at cultural events, the study is based on acculturation attitudes (Berry, 1997; Berry et al., 2006; Ward, 2001) and social-cultural identity theory (Tajfel, 1981; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Giddens, 1991; Vygotsky, 1968). Dimensions of identification include sense of belonging, its importance, evaluation and tradition (Tajfel, 1978a; Phinney, 1990; Ward, 2001; Barrett and Davis, 2008). The identity motives of Vignoles (2011), Wenger’s (2008) modes of belonging, Norton’s (2000) identity and investment, as well as Andersen’s (2006) imagined communities were used to provide a deeper level of analysis. The participating young people have different levels of identification with Indonesia and Australia. Six show strong identification with Indonesia, three show stronger identification with Australia while the three remaining participants show a balanced identification with both Indonesia and Australia. Parental cultural socialization is contested, leading to tension with the young people who have been more widely exposed to Australian values resulting in the development of a hyphenated Indonesian-Australian hybrid identity (Beltran, 2004; Marotta, 2008; Poynting, 2009). All the twelve participants have developed multiple identities and use them strategically, to be ‘different people’, depending on the situation (Hoggs & Abrams, 1988; Vasta, 1995; White & Wyn, 2008). The study recommends that parents be more open in socializing their ethnic identity so that young people can integrate Indonesian values with those of the dominant culture of current settlement. Young people’s understanding of Indonesian-Australian values is a positive contribution to the resilience of Australian national identity and the betterment of the relationship between people of the two close neighboring countries.