Publication details [#59457]

Mieroop, Dorien Van De, Stephanie Schnurr and Olga Zayts. 2014. Positioning oneself in relation to larger collectivities in expatriates’ workplace narratives. Narrative Inquiry 24 (2) : 386–407.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This article aims to explore narratives as sites for identity construction by employing the concept of positioning to analyse some of the discursive processes through which identity construction is accomplished in institutional contexts. The specific foci are i) the ways in which individuals position themselves in relation to larger collectivities in their narratives about being expatriates living and working in Hong Kong, and ii) how they construct their professional identities in the tension that may arise due to their membership in different social groups. Drawing on data from a corpus of interviews with professionals in multicultural workplaces in Hong Kong, this paper provides an in-depth analysis of two case studies of expatriates who take very different stances towards their company and the cultural groups with whom they interact, and who, as a consequence, construct remarkably different identities for themselves, the people they work with and also their organisation. These analyses illustrate some of the intricate ways in which identities are closely intertwined with and feed off individuals’ membership in different collectivities, which surfaces especially when zooming in on the different levels of positioning in the interviewees’ narratives.