Developing a sense of belonging: the immigration experience of Latin American women in Boston
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This thesis explores the experience of immigration of Latin American women living in Boston, and how they develop a sense of belonging and identity in American society. By looking into different aspects of participants' lives (work, family life, community, healthcare), I examine various circumstances in which their sense of belonging is supported and those in which it is jeopardized. The primary site of recruitment for this study was a Baptist congregation, which serves the Latino population in the Boston area. I used qualitative data collection methods including, individual interviews with the women and participant observation at the congregation, to gather participants' immigration stories. As an in-depth grounded theory analysis this study reveals the fluid nature of participant's sense of belonging; it is ever-changing, it is always moving back and forth from insider to outsider, and it is constantly brought into question. As a result the immigration experience of participants is immersed within tensions between a cohesive and fragmented sense of belonging.
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