Neither an immigrant nor a visitor: An interactional study of the adaptation to temporary residence by Arabic-speaking students in the American culture.
AuthorSabbagh, Entisar Al-Banna.
Committee ChairPhilips, Susan
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation analyzes adaptation of the Arabic population to temporary residence in the USA, based on conceptual themes from cultural anthropology and interactional sociolinguistics. I begin my analysis by summarizing the cultural background of my target population. I focus on issues of Islamic culture and religion, gender segregation, diversity, and the Arabic language. I next discuss the method by which I arrived at my research problem and population. My population is comprised of Arabic individuals studying in the USA, and their accompanying persons. I narrowed this population into a core group of key consultants, whose perspectives became representative voices. I interviewed my consultants on aspects of academic and social experiences in this country and the adaptative strategies they used to counteract its challenges. I divide my core analysis into two phases of residence--initial and subsequent. The initial documents the incipient adaptative processes used by my consultants in both social and academic settings. It discusses implications of the co-presence of gender in and out of the classroom and the strategy of avoidance. It documents the dynamics of teacher-student interactions and the discourse of authority. Arabic discourse includes communicative strategies of repetition and indirectness. The subsequent phase discussion focuses on outcomes of adaptation. In this phase, I discuss the redefinition of identity and issues of stigma. I address the outcomes of redefinitions of self and social interaction. I focus on discourse and communicative styles, and address nonassimilative adaptive strategies achieved by boundary maintaining mechanisms. I address the role of the home countries in the adaptative strategies of the population. Finally, this dissertation concludes with a recapitulation of macro and micro interaction and the cultural experience. I conclude that issues of culture clash/culture shock are linked to social interaction of the Arabic population. The binding threads of this dissertation are the processes and outcomes of the two phases of residence. The theme is adaptation. Adaptive processes include intercultural discourse, subsuming issues of identity. These issues are embedded and embodied in the main findings I consider important, at the core of this dissertation.