UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Personal a/r/tographic narratives of cultural displacement : in Latino American immigrants living in Canada Rodriguez Naranjo, Gloria Estella


Immigration is the act of moving to and settling into a new country. It means starting again while leaving many people and things behind. This phenomenon has been embraced, embodied, lived, celebrated and suffered by many people for various reasons throughout history. Factors such as war and political oppression, poor living conditions, economic opportunity and stability are explanations for why people decide to leave their native countries. Therefore, immigration embodies loss of one’s culture but at the same time embodies celebration for enhanced opportunities, when arriving and adjusting to the codes of a new system. Understanding cultural displacement as the sensation of being in a third space, of having to re-invent yourself again, adjusting day-by-day to a new culture, this study examines how Latin American immigrants to Canada confront cultural displacement. Applying a/r/tography and photo-elicitation as research methodologies the study sets up conditions for participants to engage and construct meaning together about being away from home. This research analyzes the extent to which Latin American immigrants to Canada negotiate being in-between these two spaces (their country of origin and Canada). It does this primarily through the creation of a series of photographs and conversations. Some of the findings reveal that indeed Latin American immigrants acknowledge that the process of settlement in a foreign land is complicated and it takes time to adjust and understand the culture. At the same time Latin American immigrants admit the importance of comprehending, cultivating and embracing Canadian culture, in order to merge easily in its communities. Similarly, the findings unfold the way participants created their own version of what it means to be Canadians rather than learning simply from others about its significance. As immigrants, the group I studied kept some features of Latin cultures alive in Canada, in this way, the study presents a new understanding of what is possible while dwelling in the in-between.

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