Young Somalis’ social identity in Sweden and Britain: The interplay of group dynamics, socio-political environments, and transnational ties in social identification processes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, we aim to contribute to the literature on social identification among migrants and minorities by offering a theoretical framework that accounts for the interplay of socio-psychological factors, local and transnational group dynamics, and the socio-political environment in which migrants live. This approach enables us to analyse not only the political significance of identity, but also the psychology of identity formation. Drawing upon qualitative data, we analyse how young Somalis (N = 43) living in the municipalities of Malmö (Sweden) and Ealing (United Kingdom) construct and negotiate their ethnic social identities in relation to: Somali elders living in the same city; Somalis in Somalia and in the diaspora; and the British/Swedish majority society. We show that, to secure a positive self-identity vis-à-vis these referent groups, young Somalis engage in psychological strategies of separation; social competition; and social creativity. The socio-political environment in which they are embedded influences which strategy they adopt.


External organisations
  • University of Sussex
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433
Number of pages454
JournalMigration Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec
Publication categoryResearch