COES
Collective memories of colonialism and acculturation dynamics among Congolese immigrants living in Belgium
Revista Académica
International Journal of Intercultural Relations
2017

In a recent interview, Kalvin Soiresse Njall, the coordinator of “Mémoire coloniale et lutte contre les discriminations” (colonial memory and fight against discrimination), a Belgian association gathering sub-Saharan African immigrants, declared: “The problem is that Belgium never looked its colonial legacy in the face. Unfortunately, we believe that this legacy, if the Belgian State does not pay attention to it, is now exploding in its face, because African migrations are the result of this legacy” (Pointculture, 2015). Similar position takings have multiplied for the last decades among sub-Saharan diasporas in Europe as well as from immigrants from other formerly colonized countries. Some of their representatives established a connection between the colonial past and their social integration in host countries as postcolonial migrants. Indeed, as underlined by the historians Bosma, Lucassen, and Oostindie (2012, p. 9), “the colonial past has left material and non-material legacies, ranging from metropolitan demographics and culture to ongoing ideological and possibly psychological impacts” (p. 9). However, so far, social and cross-cultural psychologists have paid little attention to the specificity of “postcolonial migrants” (Momodou & Pascoët, 2014; Rothberg, 2013).

Autores COES:
Otros Autores: Oldenhove, G.; Licata, L.

(Disponible solo en inglés:) Collective memories of the historical past allow group members to make sense of their shared past but also to project themselves in the present and future. In this line, collective memories of colonialism may present consequences for present day intergroup relations and acculturation dynamics, given that they allow processes of meaning making and social positioning when different groups with a shared colonial past interact. Indeed, previous research has shown that collective memories are associated with processes of reconciliation, victimization, and group-based emotions, among others, but, to our knowledge, little research has paid attention to the connections between collective memories of colonialism and acculturation dynamics among groups with a past of colonization. The present study aimed to analyze collective memories of colonialism and acculturation experiences among Congolese immigrants living in Belgium. 43 semi-structured interviews with Congolese participants were content analyzed, using an analytical framework along the two variables of interest. We were able to map distinct aspects of the collective memories of colonialism that Congolese immigrants in Belgium have, as well as their experiences of acculturation in Belgium. Our results suggest that individuals remember their ingroup’s past in accordance with their current social identifications and relationships within a given society. The results are discussed in light of their consequences for present day intergroup relations between host and immigrant communities in Belgium.

Como citar: Figueiredo, A., Oldenhove, G. & Licata, L. (2017). Collective memories of colonialism and acculturation dynamics among Congolese immigrants living in Belgium. International Journal of Intercultural Relations (Online First). Disponible en https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2017.03.004