With loneliness and satisfaction: tracing the path of cross-cultural adaptation by members of the Vietnamese community in Ireland
Sheridan, Vera (2005) With loneliness and satisfaction: tracing the path of cross-cultural adaptation by members of the Vietnamese community in Ireland. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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As Irish society becomes increasingly diverse it is timely to study the process of cross-cultural adaptation which provides challenges to host and stranger alike. This thesis presents a study of long-term cross-cultural adaptation by members of the Vietnamese community whose initial members arrived in Ireland in 1979 Strangers, in this case Vietnamese refugees, confront a new culture with different norms and values requiring new behaviours for communication with the host community. Refugees also have immediate economic needs for survival in their new environment. With the achievement of greater economic security, longer-term concerns develop surrounding the cultural form of the family. The family collective adapts to meet the challenges posed by the host community as lnsh-bom children and other young family members, living between the two worlds of home and school, raise cultural, linguistic and identity issues.
18 interviews yielded narratives of lived experience ranging from those who arrived as part of the original group of 212 refugees to family members arriving by reunification and observations of the younger generation. A historical and cultural context frames initial encounters as refugees enter refugee camps whele they encounter a series of shocks as their known world disappears. Transition to a host country continues the adaptation process where the Vietnamese cultural perspective realises economic security for the family. Social network indicators at group and individual level reveal the depth of integration into the host society in terms of social mixing at work, the creation of friendships and education, these depend on language skills and encountering Irish people. At the same time, other factors produce a tension with integration into the new society. These surface around issues of heritage language maintenance, fears of language and cultural loss and the creation of identities in the new society.
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