Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Conflict Resolution

First Advisor

Jeffrey Pugh

Second Advisor

Darren Kew

Third Advisor

Mathew Creighton


Migrant populations face a number of stressors in the host country as they adjust to a loss of social support and familiar aspects of culture and face ostracism and discrimination within their new communities. Previous research has addressed this by focusing on the presence and impact of discrimination directed at migrant populations from the host population, but there has been limited research on discriminatory relationships that take place within migrant communities living in host countries. Yet because migrant populations are not inherently homogenous, the differences that exist within these groups are as likely to induce stress and create conflict as are differences between migrant and host populations. Utilizing social identity theory and theories of boundary-work as a framework, this thesis looks at the impact of identity negotiation around shared superordinate identities once in the host country on relationships between members of the Somali diaspora in Boston. Data was collected through a series of semi-structured interviews and found that while a shared sense of identity has contributed to Somali youth raised in the United States’ rejection of identity-based discrimination, these same identities have been unable to fully unite first generation Somali migrants due to the collective trauma that has been intimately tied to these identities. This research suggests that under certain circumstances there is a limit to the impact that superordinate identity can have on inter-group relations. Implications for conflict resolution are discussed.


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