Confluents: A study of children of interfaith and intercultural marriages between Christian Anglophones and Muslim immigrants in Australia in the 1990s

Author: Karima Ann Moraby

Moraby, Karima Ann, 2014 Confluents: A study of children of interfaith and intercultural marriages between Christian Anglophones and Muslim immigrants in Australia in the 1990s, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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Abstract While intermarriage has often been studied, there has been little research on the children of such marriages, who are too easily assumed to be 'confused' about their identity and, for lack of a respectful title, often labelled negatively as 'mixed' or 'half'. This thesis proposes a new term, 'Confluent', which means flowing together, uniting, as with two tributaries of a river. Interviews were conducted initially with 69 Confluent children, aged between 16 and 28, of one Anglophone Australian Christian parent and one non-Anglophone immigrant Muslim parent in major cities around Australia. As a basis for comparison, interviews were also conducted with 163 young Muslims with two immigrant Muslim parents, termed here 'Unitaries', and with some parents from each group (50 in total). All interviews took place during the 1990s but some follow-up re-interviews were carried out more recently. The study indicated that respondents from intercultural and interfaith marriages had a Confluent culture at home, created there from various possible combinations of their parents' dual cultures and religions. This enabled the Confluent children to create their own individual composite culture, based on what they experienced daily at home. They felt this gave them the ability to possess, and be confident in, 'multiple identities' and to present different selves as the context required. This resulted in a positive experience for Confluents, who were able to relate to diverse people within a shared Australian identity. In this respect, they differed from the Unitary children of two Muslim immigrant parents because they had a wider and more open choice of identity options and were more comfortable in all of them. They shared the experience of some hostility towards Muslims, which was more evident in the re-interviews, but Confluents were more confident in resisting it. Confluent respondents were enthusiastic about the suggested new term and expressed an interest in having a more public collective identity. ***Special note: the terms 'Confluent/s' and Unitary/ies' are strictly copyrighted and trademarked to Karima Moraby. These terms and any content of this thesis may not be used without express written permission of the author, Karima Moraby.

Keywords: Confluents,Unitaries,Children from intermarraige,Muslim youth

Subject: Sociology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2014
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Dr Constance Lever-Tracy/Associate Professor Debra King