Volume 4   Number 2     Winter 2010

How Migration Affects the Dialogical Self
Mariel Sanchez-Rockliffe
Swinburne University (Melbourne, Australia)
James Symons
University College London
pp. 5-34

ABSTRACT:   We considered a sample of 38 migrants to Australia. We used Hermans’s self-confrontation method to score the themes of their “valuations” relating to country of origin and to Australia along the standard dimensions: the self-enhancement motive (S), the motive of contact and union with the other (O) and positive (P) and negative (N) feelings. We found that there was considerable thematic stability between locations but that the average values of S and P for Australian valuations were significantly higher (though not greatly so) than those for country-of-origin valuations. There was little evidence that average O and N differ between locations. We did find, however, that about a fifth of the sample showed markedly different themes between country of origin and Australia, suggesting that in some cases the new Australian I-positions had importantly different themes. We found in general that changed valuation themes were associated with social conditions in the country of origin: migrants from countries with low levels of political rights and civil liberties, and migrants from countries with high levels of violence showed gains in S, O and P, and falls in N. The observed high level of thematic stability is consistent with a relative invariance of “basic motives” (S and O), but the observed stability of “affects” (P and N) suggests that the opportunity for gratification of basic motives is similar at country of origin and Australia for most people in this sample.