Ethnic identity and heritage language for Sydney’s Armenian adolescents
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:50 authored by Armen Samuel Karamanian
The Armenian community of Australia perceives the preservation of their identity to be dependent upon the maintenance of the Armenian language. For adolescents in the Armenian community, the maintenance of language and identity is supported by the mainstream heritage language school, Galstaun College, complementary heritage language schools and community organisations in Sydney. This study aims to analyse whether adolescents attending Galstaun College who are involved in community organisations possess a higher solidarity with the Armenian community (the in-group), compared to adolescents attending the various complementary schools. Utilising a quantitative questionnaire and a qualitative semi-structured interview, data was collected from 13 Complementary School Students (CSS) and 11 Mainstream School Students (MSS). It was found that MSS possess a higher solidarity with the in-group, as they identify with their ethnicity and consider the Armenian language an important element of the in-group. Complementary School Students display a preference for organisations outside the community (out-group) and an increasingly hybrid Australian-Armenian identity. However, for CSS, the memory of the Armenian Genocide and the unfamiliarity of the Armenian identity by the out-group ensure their continued identification with the in-group and, as a result, medium to high levels of solidarity. Attendance at Galstaun College and participation in primarily in-group organisations increases solidarity with the in-group and the student’s attachment to the language and identity, whilst attendance at complementary schools and involvement in out-group organisations leads to signs of wavering solidarity with the in-group.