Ambivalent urban, immigrant identities: The incompleteness of Lao American student identities

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In this article, the author elucidates the identity work of Lao American urban, immigrant students, highlighting ambivalent identities that do not fit into notions of bicultural or binary identities. It examines the various discourses and practices that inform and shape the experiences and identities of urban, Lao American high school students. It explores the ways that immigrant youth identities are continuously shaped by dominant discourses while at the same time are responses that modify, resist or echo these discourses. It shows that youth are creating incomplete, contradictory - ambivalent - urban, immigrant identities and are changing what it means to be 'urban' and 'immigrant' youth. By highlighting the ambivalent nature of immigrant identities, this article complicates binary notions of urban, immigrant identities as good/bad and unsettles the ancestral country/United States oppositional framing of the experiences of immigrant students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-220
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


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