Evidence for the ecological self: English speaking migrants' residual link to their homeland


Attachment to the homeland may have far-reaching consequences after migration. Researchers have reinterpreted Bowlby's (1969) attachment theory from the perspective of cognitive psychology, emphasizing the role of human interactions in the formation of self and affective regulation (Fogany et al., 2002). Further, the importance of interactions with the non-human environment in establishing a sense of self (ecological self) has been propounded (Niesser, 1991; Spizform, 2001). The present study employed a cross-sectional, naturalistic design using qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study the impact of migration on 154 British women currently living in Western Australia. A subset of interview data from 40 women are reported. Findings indicated these migrants maintain a strong, emotionally charged bond or “residual link” to non-human as well as human elements of their homeland, irrespective of satisfactory or unsatisfactory settlement. These findings seem to provide evidence of the ecological self, which could also help explain the negative reactions many people experience following migration.


identity, migration, Bowlby

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