A Liberation Psychology Approach to Acculturative Integration of Migrant Populations

Reference: Garcia-Ramirez, M., de la Mata, M., Paloma, V. y Hernandez-Plaza, S. (2011). A liberation psychology approach to acculturative integration of migrant populations. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47, 86–97. doi:

Abstract: This paper describes an acculturative integration approach that stresses the contribution of liberation psychology. Immigrant integration is a challenge for receiving countries in the Western world due to the frequent asymmetrical and oppressive conditions suffered by newcomers in their new settlements. The cross-cultural perspective connects integration with psychological acculturation, emphasizing harmony between acquisitions of the new culture while maintaining cultural heritage,  and creating opportunities for intergroup relationships. In turn, liberation psychology permits an understanding of the acculturative transition as an empowerment and selfconstruction process by which immigrants acquire a new vision of the world and of themselves, transforming both structural conditions and themselves. From this perspective we conceptualize acculturative integration as the process by which newcomers become an accepted part of the new society through a reflexive and evaluative process, changing their social references and position, rebuilding their social and personal resources, and achieving a new agency in coherence with their new challenges and goals. In this process, they acquire critical thinking about unequal conditions, gain capacities to respond to the inequalities, and take effective actions to confront them. We illustrate this process using the narratives of nine Moroccan women who are living in asymmetrical and oppressive local contexts in Andalusia, the southern-most region of Spain.

Keywords: Acculturation, Integration, Oppression, Empowerment, Critical thinking, Liberation psychology, Self-construction, Immigrants, Moroccan, Migration.

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