MA Research Paper


Wajeha Chams


Master of Arts




Dr. Tracey Adams


According to the 2011 Canadian Census, immigrants make up 20.6% of the total Canadian population (Statistics Canada, 2014), and a growing body of research is raising questions about immigrants’ experiences, their identities and how transnational lives have shaped and influenced Canadian society and citizenship. Recent research on transnationalism enhances understanding of immigrants’ relationships within both their source and host countries. This research demonstrates that first-generation immigrants tend to maintain their ethnic identities, language and cultural traditions through the active maintenance of transnational ties and activities. However, the lives of their children are less directly tied to the parents’ homeland. As such, exactly how these children negotiate their ethnic identities, and the significance they attach to transnational ties is less clear. Using qualitative methodology, this paper explores the ethno-cultural identities and transnational connections of second-generation Canadian-born young adults of Lebanese descent in Canada. Study respondents identify differently as Canadian, Lebanese or Lebanese-Canadian, and their identities are strongly influenced by their transnational ties, family, community, experiences at school and religion. Individuals who have maintained ties with people of Lebanese descent both in Canada and in Lebanon and speak Arabic were more likely identify as Lebanese or Lebanese-Canadian. In contrast, those educated at an Islamic school in the host country, who have fewer ties within the Lebanese community or do not speak Arabic, were more likely to identify as Canadian or Muslim-Canadian. The implications of this research for future research on identity and transnationalism are discussed.

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