Being British vs Being American: Identification among second-generation adults of Nigerian descent in the US and UK

Onoso Imoagene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper explores the important roles national identity and legacies of the past play in shaping the meanings second-generation adults of Nigerian descent attach to being British or American. Whether a country's national identity is inclusive or exclusive of immigrants, and whether its national myths have emotive appeal also affects the sense of welcome and belonging that the second generation feel. Comparing the USA and the UK, I find that although the USA has taken a laissez-faire approach to multiculturalism, its national identity has strong emotive appeal and is accepted by the majority of the second generation. The UK is a contrary case; despite its official policy of multiculturalism, it has not seen widespread articulation of shared national sentiments and myths among its second generation. From careful analyses, it is clear that multicultural policies are not making a big difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2153-2173
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Keywords

  • African
  • Nigerian
  • identity
  • multiculturalism
  • second generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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