Constructing Armenian identity : the influences of historical legacy on succeeding generations of the Armenian genocide / Gayle R. Simidian.
How do succeeding generations of the Armenian Genocide think their history's cultural trauma influences their own identity? How do the succeeding generations work to both recognize the genocide and reconcile it to the past? How do the succeeding generations conceptualize social justice in light of their own cultural trauma and apply this conceptualization of social justice to other contemporary human rights issues, especially genocide or holocaust? Five areas of scholarship and research provided the basis for this empirical research: holocaust literature; Armenian-American literature; literature on marginalized ethnic groups, including ethnic and political identity literature; ecological contexts literature; and social justice literature.This qualitative study, following Henwood and Pidgeon (2003) (who build on Glaser and Strauss's 1967 pioneering work on grounded theory research), includes both semi-structured individual and focus group interviews. The mixed gender and age sample consisted of five participants between twenty and thirty years of age, five between forty and fifty years of age, and four between sixty and seventy-one years of age. Transcript excerpts from individual interviews containing similar and differing themes provided fodder for focus group discussions. Participants took part in intergenerational focus groups and discussed themes and related matters salient to each group. This technique enabled a comparison of beliefs and attitudes across generations. All participants were Armenian-American and were recruited from Boston and its outlying areas. For this research, "Armenian-American" is defined as an individual currently living in the United States with at least one parent of Armenian descent. Focus groups provided the space necessary for the co-construction and deconstruction of Armenian identity. In essence, Armenian cultural identity is shown to be interchangeable with Armenian political identity, for this sample. Central concepts of Armenian identity—for this sample, "the script" and "Armenianness,"—are examined as they pertain to the research questions for this work. This psychosocial research adds to the comprehensive look at this ethnic population from a psychological as well as political-historical approach.
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