Everyone experiences life through a different lens. While we value a constant and universal factor when analyzing data, identity is fluid and ever-changing. My research this past summer was primarily focused in literature analysis, while also using artistic representations of identity (through film and media) as a way to understand cultural identity conflict and how it manifests unstable environments. The intention of the project is to discuss one factor in the greater understanding of how cultural identity conflict affects the well-being of young adults throughout their lives. By identifying a stateless/diaspora identity as a common factor in Palestinian diaspora communities, we can isolate it as a constant in order to further understand its affect on psychological well-being, compared to other factors that lead to the manifestation of general identity conflict and view them side by side. The final project, in the form of a written analysis, discusses the impact of disruption and instability on one’s cultural identity and how that identity, however stable or insecure, affects one’s psychological well-being.
It is necessary, however, to acknowledge the limitations of this analysis. Focusing only on one factor of many, like the psychosocial crisis of late adolescence, and identity synthesis outside of cultural identity, allows me to analyze this isolated from the rest, although one would be remiss to deny acknowledgement to other factors that contribute to building of identity and psychological distress as outside factors. It is a primary focus on how identity statuses within cultural identity are fluid, and are dependent on environmental factors, such as social and political players that affect one’s ability to adapt and suggest a “cultural norm,” whatever that may be.
Through further analysis of representation supported by published research in concurrent and related fields, the dissertation will continue to develop and work deeper into understanding how identity conflict affects psychological well-being over time, in varying contexts in the form of an Honors Thesis in the upcoming year.
This research has been conducted under and would not have been possible without the advising of Gisele El Khoury, Arabic Instructor, and Director of the Language Resource Center.