Acculturative Integration, Self and Citizenship Construction: The Experience of Amal-Andaluza, a Grassroots Organization of Moroccan Women in Andalusia

Reference: Paloma, V., Garcia-Ramirez, M., de la Mata, M., & Association AMAL-Andaluza. (2010). Acculturative integration, self and citizenship construction: The experience of Amal-Andaluza, a grassroots organization of Moroccan women in Andalusia. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34, 101–113. doi:

Abstract: This paper describes the role of grassroots associations in the acculturative integration process from an approach that stresses the contributions of community and cultural psychologies. Community psychology allows us to understand the acculturative transition as an empowerment process by which immigrants transform both structural conditions and themselves. Cultural psychology explains this empowerment process as a self construction through which immigrants acquire a new vision of the world and of themselves. From these insights, acculturative integration is understood as an active, multidimensional and ecological process in which immigrants become an accepted part of the new society through the development of critical awareness, gaining capacities and opportunities to influence their environment and involving themselves in activities which transform both their ‘‘self’’ and their environment. The promotion of grassroots organizations, as empowering community settings, is presented as a tool to bridge newcomers and the receiving society. This model is illustrated by the experience of Amal, a grassroots organization of Andalusian Moroccan women. Using the personal, organizational and community narratives of Amal (activists, recipients, community workers, policymakers and written documents), we describe the influence of citizen participation in the construction of self and citizenship among activists, the bettering of an integrative community, and the promotion of a fair multicultural society. Lessons learned will be summarized in order to pave the way for the implications of the Amal experience for acculturative research agendas and social policy and action.

Keywords: Acculturation, Integration, Grassroots organization, Community-based research, Empowering community setting, Bruner, Citizenship, Moroccan women.

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