Painting their own reality: Self, space, and identity fracture within Latin American immigration to the United States



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In this thesis, primarily through the lens of Du Boisian double consciousness, the migration and integration experiences of Mexican-Americans and Puerto Rican American migrants to the American mainland are examined. The study analyzes the degree to which there is a fracturing of self-identity within these immigrant groups and the degree to which national origin affects the cognitive dissonance felt by Latin American migrants to the United States. In-depth information was derived from personal interviews of migrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico. Through a multi-method approach, the project helps to construct a better understanding of the strategies immigrants utilize to navigate their fractured self-identities. While double consciousness has been reviewed in depth, this study aims to update the understanding of the concept, specifically addressing immigrant groups with a strong sense of transnationalism. The findings of this study demonstrated that Latin American immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico experience double consciousness, and their psychosocial experience in the United States is inherently fractured as a result of their identities being situated in the hostile social space of the United States. Additionally, the findings show that there are multiple fronts on which Latin American immigrants experience double consciousness as a result of their social selves, and this experience, while transcending nationality, does contain nuanced features as a result of an immigrant’s point of origin.

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Immigration, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Social Psychology, Latino/a Sociology, Transnationalism, Cross-national Sociology