Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Dr. John Ungerleider


This inquiry sheds light on the personal stories and lived experiences of a group of recent immigrants currently living in Fortaleza, the sprawling capital of the Northeastern state of Ceará, Brazil. Utilizing a theoretical framework guided by “Epistemologies of the South,” ethnographic principles, and constructivist grounded theory, this capstones presents five first person portrait-narratives highlighting intimate details of project participants’ lives prior to immigrating, and uncovers four persistent and recurrent themes expressed by project participants: (1) language and communication, (2) professional opportunity, (3) personal growth, and (4) “saudade” and belongingness.

Through the lens of Johan Galtung’s Basic Needs Approach, this inquiry also sought to analyze the relationship between conflict and identity, insofar as it existed, through determinable identity needs and satisfiers while recognizing overlapping themes for further inquiry. This analysis was organized under the four aforementioned themes offering explicit examples of when these identity needs weren’t satisfied, and of how personal or latent interpersonal conflict manifested. These manifestations of conflict often occurred when perceived social equilibrium failed to be respected or when research participants purportedly disrupted it. This inquiry could not determine identity based conflict in more traditional or academic senses, but at times revealed moments of polarization, isolation, and degrees of cultural resistance and friction as a result of a basic immigrant identity.

This inquiry’s findings can be best utilized by local organizations working to provide and improve support related to the aforementioned persistent and recurrent themes to promote better inclusion and integration into Fortalecense society.

Keywords: Immigration, Brazil, Fortaleza, Intra-American, Identity Needs


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Latin American Languages and Societies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Image Location