Contemporary Identity and Social Experiences of Acadian Youth

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Doucet, Louanne
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The present study obtained the perceptions of Acadian adolescents regarding the personal significance and meaning of their Acadian cultural affiliation, traits of and influences upon their contemporary Acadian lives, and their social relationships with both Acadians and non-Acadians. This study intended to explore the nature of their everyday cultural experiences and interactions in order to identify factors that more positively or adversely affect daily functioning, well-being, and on-going development as Acadian youth. Utilizing a qualitative research approach, two focus groups were held. The first consisted of 4 males and 4 females between the ages of 13 - 15 years old, inclusive. The second was comprised of 3 males and 3 females between the ages of 16 - 18 years old, inclusive. Three individual interviews were also conducted. All participating youth were born and raised in the Municipality of Clare and were currently students of the local secondary school. École Secondaire de Clare. Transcribed interviews (data) from these discussion sessions were analysed employing discovery-based, cross-comparative data analysis generally associated with grounded theory methodology. Results of the analysis were organized by four major descriptive categories specifically. Forming Acadian Identity, Experiencing Acadian Identity, Maintaining Acadian Identity, and Acadian Resources. Findings of this study indicated a vital need among interviewed youth in the Clare community for enhanced cultural awareness, and development and maintenance of their forming Acadian identity. With an identified need by the youth for increased resources, opportunities and supports for cultural interaction and exchange in the local community, and expressed mixed feelings of both pride and discomfort within their Acadian experience, recommendations are offered to facilitate the healthy development of contemporary cultural identity on the part of these Acadian youth.
Acadian Identity , Acadian youth , Secondary School