Patterns of Cultural Inclusion and Exclusion in American Society: The Case of Chaldean Americans

Lanouar Ben Hafsa

Abstract


This study aims to shed light on a community for long positioned as Arab and/or Muslim but still in search of a sense of belonging that promotes its ancestral heritage and at the same time reinforces bonds of solidarity among its members. It investigates the rhetoric around the Detroit-based Chaldean diaspora, not merely as case in point, but also because this is where the bulk of Chaldean Americans are concentrated. While it retraces their pathway from the homeland (Iraq) up through their establishment in the United States, it essentially explores the debate surrounding the group’s identity formation. Principally, it seeks to scrutinize patterns of continuity and change operating within the Chaldean microcosm, namely to demonstrate that the construct “ethnic identity” is more than a question of self-perception. It rather involves an interplay of mechanisms that concur to preserve the group’s distinctive features and keep it shielded against threatening erasure. The investigation suggests to evidence, ultimately, that even though it exhibits broad consensus on basic elements of association that unify its individual members, notably Church and family, the Chaldean diaspora is by no means conflict-ridden. In effect, the persevering influx of co-ethnics fleeing persecution in the homeland appears to be a new source of internal frictions likely to polarize the community and precipitate an identity crisis.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v6i8.3475

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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