Date of Award

6-25-2014

Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

First Advisor

Michael Dougherty

Second Advisor

Maria Schmeeckle

Abstract

Sojourns, or extended periods of time during which people travel and live abroad with the intention of returning to their home countries, are becoming ever more normal parts of the human experience around the globe. In the US, sojourners who travel as foreign aid workers, corporate employees, missionaries, educators, and military personnel and dependents, among others, make up an increasingly broad spectrum of the population. The experience of living abroad is often necessarily accompanied by some sort of identity change that affects how well one integrates into one's host culture (and, conversely, rejecting local customs and norms affects one's potential for isolation within the new host community) and at some level determine how "livable" life abroad really is. Much existing research addresses identity change at the time of the end of the sojourn, but what happens after sojourners return home? How do returning sojourners experience immediate reentry and longer-term readjustment? Additionally, how well do existing models map reentry and readjustment experiences? In this work I make use of multiple qualitative methodologies, including in-depth interviewing and auto-ethnography, to investigate the relative permanence and fluidity of identities, particularly identities changed or created while abroad. retrospective and current looks at the weeks, months, and years after one's return to her or his home country has the potential to build a more well-rounded understanding of how (and even if) we amend, create, and maintain identities based on our social and cultural surroundings.

Comments

Imported from ProQuest McNair_ilstu_0092N_10314.pdf

Page Count

238

Included in

Sociology Commons

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