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Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home

Women, Cultural Identity, and Community

Carol E. Kelley

Publication Year: 2013

The effect of immigration on individual lives is not short lived. Those who stay in an adopted country permanently go through a continual process of adjustment and learning both about their new country-and about themselves. The four women profiled in Carol Kelley's poignant Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home challenge immigrant stereotypes as their lives are transformed by moving to new countries for reasons of marriage, education, or career--not economics or politics.

The intimate stories of these "accidental" immigrants broaden conventional notions of home. From a Maori woman who moves to Norway to the daughter of an Iranian diplomat now living in France, Kelley weaves together these stories of the personal and emotional effects of immigration with interdisciplinary discussions drawn from anthropology and psychology. Ultimately, she reveals how the lifelong process of immigration affects each woman's sense of identity and belonging and contributes to better understanding today's globalized society.

Published by: Temple University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book would not have been possible without the many people who provided support during the research and writing process. First and foremost I express my deepest thanks to the four anonymous women who participated in the research. They not only gave their time but also entrusted me with the intimate details of their lives. ...

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Introduction: Approaching Home

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pp. 1-8

Immigration is in the news every day. Many of the reports underscore generalized fears of “illegal” movement or the appropriation of domestic jobs and cultural change. Politically and socially controversial, immigration is often positioned in the media in terms of negative statistics rather than individual realities. ...

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I. Accidental Immigrants: From Roots to Routes

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pp. 9-41

"Where are you from?” is a simple question but one that in today’s world of movement can elicit multiple responses. Behind a one-line answer there is likely a significant story. Where a person is from might mean where he or she was born, grew up, or currently lives. “Home” is a concept that integrates many levels of meaning and emotion: ...

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II. Transitions: Negotiating Identity in a New Culture

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pp. 42-88

A newspaper article I once read listed life events and the level of stress each causes. Those at the top of the list I expected: death of a loved one, marriage, and divorce. Farther down, but still near the top, was moving. Initially that surprised me, but then I started to remember the sense of utter exhaustion I have always felt during and after a move. ...

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III. Turning Points: Realization, Transformation, and Commitment

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pp. 89-118

“Adaptation,” “acculturation,” “assimilation,” “transnationalism”: these are some of the words social scientists have used to describe how immigrants navigate their lives. These words, however, do not address how, or whether, an immigrant might stop feeling like an outsider. ...

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IV. Lejanía Cercana: Living “Closely Far” from Home

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pp. 119-158

Translated from Spanish, lejanía cercana means “close distance” or “close but far away.” The deeper meaning of this phrase, however, has more complexity than a direct translation can provide. The words embody feelings of wistfulness and longing and connote the paradox that results from feeling emotionally close to a place ...


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pp. 159-162


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pp. 163-170


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pp. 171-176

About the Author

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p. 190-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781439909478
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439909461

Page Count: 194
Publication Year: 2013