Negotiating Identities in CARICOM: How CARICOM Nationals Experience Intra-Regional Migration and Regionalism
As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) deepens its economic and political integration, the development of the CARICOM identity is seen as both a natural outgrowth, and as paramount to its success. This is because a regional identity can promote social cohesion and shape political objects, including social policies. Regional identities are also shaped by politics, social relations and personal attributes. Using data from a cross-national survey and semi-structured interviews, this thesis examines the nuances of identity formation in CARICOM. It specifically asks three questions: a) how do intra-regional CARICOM migrants negotiate their identities and self-identify? b) How do intra-regional CARICOM migrants construct their lived-experiences in other CARICOM countries? And c) how do intra-regional migrants rationalize the impact of CARICOM regionalism on their identities? These data are analyzed statistically, and through the interpretations of migrants’ discourses and experiences. The study identifies six factors that determine attachments to CARICOM: education level, citizenship region, the meaningfulness of CARICOM, benefits of CARICOM, belonging in member countries, and the nature of migratory experiences. All these variables moderately impact attachment to CARICOM except perceived benefits, which is strongly associated with identification with CARICOM. Perceptions of benefits also impact how migrants rationalized regionalism and their experiences. Overall, support for regional integration and a regional identity are strong, but the CARICOM identity is weak and non-salient primarily because expectations of benefits do not match lived realities. The deepening of the CARICOM identity are therefore contingent on: people experiencing CARICOM’s expected benefits; the development of policies that address perceived failures; CARICOM rebranding itself and being more engaged with its constituents; and on collaborative actions being taken to embed the regional identity into national ones.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeSomerville, Kara; Béland, Daniel; Denis, Wilfrid; Berdahl, Loleen
Copyright DateSeptember 2015