Wannabe Israeli: immigrants wrestling with their identity

  • Laura DryjanskaEmail author
  • Cheryl Zlotnick


While some people have no particular problems stating in a word or two how they self-identify, others may struggle with this task, as it stirs up emotions, doubts, and deeper reflections. This paper proposes methodology for analysing short free-text comments in relation to immigrants’ self-identification. It builds on a quantitative study concerning migration to Israel by English-speakers, concentrating on a qualitative analysis of their self-identification in the light of 249 free-text comments. The constructs of anchoring and objectification from the interdisciplinary theory of social representations guide the interpretation of results obtained in a two-step process: classical qualitative content analysis followed by the Multiple Correspondence Analysis. The findings demonstrate that at least for some immigrants in Israel, self-identification appears to be a complex process, in which single and hyphenated identifications concentrate more on the negative aspects or challenges of acculturation, while self-identifications based on religion and social role focus more on the positive view of giving advice to others.


Self-identification Free-text comments Multiple correspondence analysis Identity Immigration Social representations 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Anglo-List website for English speaking immigrants to Israel that has hosted and promoted the online questionnaire.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no direct financial benefit from this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rosemead School of PsychologyBiola UniversityLa MiradaUSA
  2. 2.University of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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