For how many generations is one an “immigrant”? Reflecting critically on a term carrying an imposed identity

Ben-Cheikh, I. et A. Mekki-Berrada (2020, septembre)


21(3) | p. 318-326

The term “second-generation immigrant” remains widely used by researchers to refer to children of immigrant parents. In this paper, we criticize the normalization of this term and its potential for infinite extension from a historical perspective. We analyze the different meanings it can have according to the social and political context, according to the parents’ country of origin, and according to the historical link between the country of birth and the country of origin. In a situation where the identity construction of the children of immigrants is complex and singular, this term can constitute a positive affirmation of identity for some, while for others it can carry a burden of social suffering.