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Living many lives: Transnational mobility and identity scaffolding of skilled migrants

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jenny Rodriguez, Professor Tracy ScurryORCiD


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The paper looks at the interplay between transnational mobility and identity construction. Using data collected in Qatar, the paper problematises identity construction of skilled migrants, exploring how they position themselves within dynamics of transnational mobility. We argue that as part of experiences of transnational mobility, these skilled migrants develop narratives that they use as a form of ‘identity scaffolding’. We conceptualise ‘identity scaffolding’ as individual agentic efforts to utilise material and representational resources in order to develop and reinforce notions of self. Findings suggest that context plays a fundamental role not only in providing a material framework for the construction of identity but also in allowing for the (re)creation of identities in representational terms. For this group, this meant negotiating their identity positioning; continuously re-articulating their narratives to re-territorialise themselves as global citizens and adapt to changes and impositions from contextual structures and institutional arrangements. Simultaneously, this served as a mechanism to disarticulate and de-territorialise notions of the ‘other’. The discussions developed in this paper have implications for our understanding of how identity is articulated, and its shifts and reconfigurations in the context of transnational mobility.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodriguez J, Scurry T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 13th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management

Year of Conference: 2013

Publisher: European Academy of Management


Notes: Paper no. 1782