The Identity Formation of Thai-Westerners Living in Bangkok

Adham A. El-Habashy                      Donald A. Johnson                                 Davud Shahidi
Bangkok                                                    Assumption University                                  Bangkok

Pages: 32 – 40
The purpose of the study was to explore how familial and nonfamilial ethnic socializations
could influence Thai-westerners’ identity formation and also to investigate not only how
Thai-westerners view themselves but how they are viewed and treated in Thai society.
The study focused on (1) How familial ethnic socializations influence a Thai-westerner’s
identity formation, (2) How nonfamilial ethnic socializations influence a Thai-westerners’
identity formation and (3) How Thai-westerners are viewed and treated in Thai society.
This was achieved through qualitative research that used thematic analysis to explore
the commonalities of experiences among the Thai-westerner Participants via 40-60
minute semi-structured interviews. Participants included four Thai-westerners (two
males and two females) who are currently living in Bangkok, Thailand. The data
collection process consisted of recordings and transcriptions of the participants’
interviews. Thematic analysis was used to help explore the emerging themes from the
interviews. The relationship the participants had with their parents deeply influenced the
foundation of their identity, enabling them to be more open-minded and understanding
of different people. The participants felt they were able to blend and switch between
cultures but did not commit to either side of their culture. This also allowed them to have
great interpersonal skills and get along easily with people from different backgrounds.
Familial socializations, nonfamilial socializations, specifically social environment, and
their appearance played a strong positive role in influencing their identity formation.
The participants had a high sense of self-esteem and appreciation for their identity.

Keywords: Identity formation, Thai-westerner, Thematic analysis, Familial ethnic
socializations, Nonfamilial ethnic socializations

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