Date of Award

4-1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Jerry Markle

Second Advisor

Dr. Subhash Sonnad

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Don Cooney

Abstract

This first person, autobiographical account of one American citizen’s nine-week experience covering two years in the Republic of Armenia answers the question, aIs it possible to become resocialized in a foreign culture?’ Employing the experimental writing method called personal experience narrative, the author uses personal journal accounts and autobiographical stories as primary data to demonstrate his movement from ’modem tourist’ (MacCannell, 1976; 1992) to resocialized individual and provide a rich and detailed description of the Armenian homeland undergoing significant social changes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This study offers a model of socialization called ’life-learning’ to account for the constraining and enabling role of social structure and the importance of reflexivity in lifelong social development. Included is the concept ’life-lesson’, defined as any critical situation causing an individual to change their accumulated life-leaming through praxis (Friere, 1970/1993). This two-part model is used to assess the impact of anticommunist and anti-Soviet Union childhood socialization combined with prior learning about Armenia on a priori normative expectancies.

This study traces the author’s intercultural adjustment as a life-lesson through two stages (psychic emergency and regressive behavior) leading to resocialization (Giddens, 1984). The degree of success in resocialization is evaluated through lived experience across three elements: (1) development of interpersonal relationships in the host culture; (2) gaining a sense of well-being; and, (3) performance of daily tasks of living (Moghaddam, Taylor & Wright, 1993).

As such, this study is one example of successful intercultural adjustment, specifically in the Republic of Armenia. The author further speculates about the relevance these findings have for sociologists and social workers working and living in intercultural settings, in or outside the United States.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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