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“I KNOW I’M NOT WHITE, SO THEN CAN I BE QUEER?” : Examining the possibilities and challenges of BIPOC and queer peoples’ hybrid identity constructions in the Finnish context

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Title: “I KNOW I’M NOT WHITE, SO THEN CAN I BE QUEER?” : Examining the possibilities and challenges of BIPOC and queer peoples’ hybrid identity constructions in the Finnish context
Author(s): Udeh, Eva
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies
Specialisation: Social Psychology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
This research aims to examine the identity construction processes of sexual and gender minorities who are also a part of visible ethnic minorities. There is very little research conducted on the topic by social psychology scholars in the Finnish context. The present research is interwoven with critical social psychology drawing its’ framework from intersectional theory, queer theory, and notions of hybrid identity, theorized by Ang (2001), Bhabha (2012) & Hall (1999). The main framework of the study is constructionism which treats the established understandings of the social world and identities as phenomena that are constructed in social practices, rather than as natural truths (see e.g. Gergen, 1985). This research examines how and in relation to which social environments BIPOC and queer identities are constructed, whilst considering how local and global interlocking systems of oppression and privilege challenge and enable such identity negotiations which are done from a state of “in-betweenness” of cultural identities as visible ethnic minorities often describe, and hybridity theories suggest. Using the framework of intersectionality and hybridity capacitates the examination of both, challenges, as well as possibilities of identity construction from the intersections of BIPOC and queer identities in the Finnish context. The research questions are: 1. What kind of challenges and possibilities of cultural identity construction do BIPOC and queer people face in the Finnish context? a. How were the intersections of their identities negotiated? b. How did hybridity figure in their identity negotiations? The data consists of three focus group interviews conducted in the context of insider research. The analysis method used was Reflexive Thematic Analysis. As a result, three themes were generated from the data: (1) Hybrid identity as a necessity, (2) Queerness is white, and (3) Hybrid identity is inherently queer. The analysis suggests that queerness and BIPOC:ness create an intersection of identities, which demand and enable hybrid construction of identities, not only in terms of cultural or BIPOC identity but also in terms of queerness. However, identity construction is done in relation to the available communities which either support and enable exploring and constructing such identities or challenge and limit these processes.
Keyword(s): Hybrid identity Ethnic minority BIPOC Queer Critical social psychology Intersectionality Queer identity Queer theory Cultural identity Reflexive thematic analysis Insider research sosiaalinen konstruktivismi reflektiivisyys etninen identiteetti vähemmistöt intersektionaalisuus queer-tutkimus seksuaalivähemmistöt sukupuolivähemmistöt etniset vähemmistöt identiteetti sisäpiiritieto kriittinen sosiaalipsykologia sosiaalipsykologia

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