Nationilism - belonging to the spaces between : conceptualizing nation-less identity and belonging
OppiaineIntercultural Communication (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Communication
This qualitative study links the cultural identity of Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs) to the field of intercultural communication by demonstrating that new identities are emerging that are characterized by a sense of belonging not linked to the boundaries of nations or tied to physical location. As initial self-disclosure and knowledge about the identity of one’s counterpart have been proved essential in intercultural interactions, understanding with regards to new forms of identity are of interest to the field. The aim of this study is to explore the concept of nation-less belonging within the cultural identities of Adult Third Culture Kids, something I term "natioNILism". In order to examine this concept, an alert was posted on online Third Culture communities and selected International School networks in order to discover a target group who felt a sense of natioNILism. 70 participants completed demographic surveys and subsequently, 29 ATCKs willingly participated in qualitative interviews which asked respondents to consider the concept of their belonging, especially in reference to how they answer the question, "Where are you from?" Participants who spoke in depth about the concept of nation-less identification were sent follow-up questions on this topic via e-mail and twelve responded. The findings show that ATCKs identify with the concept of nation-less-ness to varying degrees and yet a there are ATCK individuals who feel a strong sense of belonging to NatioNILism and are both proud and empowered by it. These ATCKs are comfortable with a plurality of identifications, including placing themselves outside nations, in-between them, and / or identifying with an imagined community of others like themselves.
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