Membership Categorization in African Migrant Writers’ Autobiographies

Karanikikj Josimovska, Jovana (2017) Membership Categorization in African Migrant Writers’ Autobiographies. In: NEMLA (Northeast Modern Language Association) 2017 48th Annual Convention, 23-26 March 2017, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to share part of the results of a larger research on Italian literature of migration by presenting a different analytical approach to this cultural phenomenon in Italy. The study avails of ethnomethodology approaches regarding construction of identity and the concept of membership categorization, where the last term indicates classifications or social types that can be used to describe people. It offers concrete example of application of the membership categorization analysis on the autobiographies written by three migrant writers from Africa: In fuga dale tenebre by Jean-Paul Pougala, Il mio viaggio della speranza dal Senegal all’Italia in cerca di fortuna by Bay Mademba and Ama il tuo sogno. Vita e rivolta nella terra dell’oro rosso by Yvan Sagnet. The identified categories have been analyzed taking into consideration the particular context and the discursive strategies employed, such as: negotiation of meaning, code-switching etc. Special attention is paid to membership categorizations which are presented as relevant within the narration by the authors themselves, and result as conflict-generating in certain contexts. In particular, the categories such as: ‘nero’, ‘africano’ and ‘straniero’ belonging to different membership categorization devises, respectively ‘skin color’, ‘geographical area of origin’ and ‘citizenship”, as well as terms referring to the ‘nationality’ of the authors, have been shown to have interchangeable usage, but also to have variable and sometimes contrasting connotations even within the same text. Ultimately, the results of the analysis show the context-dependent nature of the membership categorizations, which in turn means that a person cannot be defined in one word only, but that the identity is a matter of social construction in the course of interaction.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Humanities > Languages and literature
Divisions: Faculty of Philology
Depositing User: Jovana Karanikik
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2019 12:24
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 12:24
URI: http://eprints.ugd.edu.mk/id/eprint/23089

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