14 September 2006

Restructuring our lives

Our perception of who we are is a dynamic process. The change in perception of our own identity that occurs as an immigrant, and once again upon return to our original homeland (which I’ve described in my previous post from a personal experience), reifies the fact that our identity has a social context. Shifts in perceptions of our identity occur with social (and geographical) displacement; and, once again, with adjustment with the new environment.

Although we talk about our culture, ancestry, language and religion, our identity is usually rooted to a place. A change in location unsettles us. Going back and forth between two (or more) places rocks our sense of identity. We then tend to ascribe ourselves an identity on the basis of where we live at a particular moment, in the present context. We build bridges between the past and the present, restructuring our lives, in order to create a culture which is acceptable… habitable.

Sometimes, of course, we are suspended between cultures, even though we are stationed in a locality. We then identify ourselves in a continuous process, in the order of our experiences.

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