Reconstructing Social Identity: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Approach to Understanding Filipino Migrant Workers in Wales


Migrants from the Philippines have been coming to the UK since the 1970s under the work permit scheme as a response to the country's shortage of skilled workers. Unlike other migrant groups, Filipinos receive less attention from researchers. Research on Filipinos is scarce in the UK and almost non-existent in Wales. Underpinned by Social Identity Theory and by using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach, the study found that Filipino migrants in Carmarthenshire and neighbouring rural areas have unique perceptions of selves, experiences and sense of belongingness. Social identity was found to be centred strongly on families both in the UK and those left behind. Vocations and professional qualifications earned in the Philippines were a persistent theme and often linked to positive outlook; whereas current vocations and professional developments were associated with negative emotions. Perception on citizenship and nationalism were fragmented although British citizenship was viewed as an achievement and social security. Cultural differences between the country of origin and the receiving country posed strong implications to the migrants' social participation - interaction and integration within receiving communities were found limited despite their wish and commitment to settle in the country, for example, by purchasing properties. Active social participation was limited mainly by domestic and caring commitments and the motivation to work as many hours as they can. Although issues of racism and discrimination were rarely reported, discourse of loneliness and social divisions within Filipino communities were persistent.

Author Information
Beverly Bernal - Davies, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2016
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

This paper is part of the ECP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon