Identity across Generations: A Turkish American Case Study

Kaya I.

MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL, vol.63, no.4, pp.617-632, 2009 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.3751/63.4.15
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.617-632
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: No


This article explores identity formation across generations among Turkish Americans. The study argues that important differences exist between first and second generation Turkish Americans in regard to the acceptance and assertion of their American and Turkish identities and cultural practices. While first generation Turkish Americans are quite reluctant to assert their American identities, second generation Turkish Americans openly express both their Turkish and American identities, regardless of their religious orientation. Whereas the first generation is more isolated in America no matter the degree of their acculturation, second generation Turkish Americans are much more integrated, as linguistic proficiency and cultural adaptation are less significant barriers to their participation in larger American society. This article also suggests that those second generation Turkish immigrants who feel discriminated against believe that it is their Islamic faith rather than their ethnicity that is the cause of their lack of acceptance by larger American society.