Diaspora, hybridity and growing up bilingual in a globalised world

Year: 2005

Author: Diaz, Criss Jones

Type of paper: Refereed paper

In Australia, there has been little research into how bilingual families and their children negotiate identity in a globalised world in which the dominance of English remains a significant force in children’s lives. Similarly, research that investigates the connections between language retention and identity negotiation is also limited, particularly in relation to how children experience their hybrid identities in the contexts of education and globalisation. Further, in early childhood and primary education, understandings of language and identity are often informed by developmentalist and liberal pluralist frameworks which often limit possibilities for extending children’s home languages and identity construction. By drawing on cultural theory, this paper highlights the significance of hybridity and diaspora in identity negotiation and language retention within the hybridised spaces mediated by language, ‘race’, gender and class. Through the exploration of selected findings from recent qualitative research that investigated the significance of cultural history in the Australian Latin American diaspora, the discussion highlights the connections between multiple identity construction and language retention for bilingual children and their families.