Publication details [#59771]

Sabaté Dalmau, Maria. 2015. Migrant identities in narrative practice. In-/out-group constructions of ‘comrades’ and ‘rivals’ in storytelling about transnational life. Narrative Inquiry 25 (1) : 91–112.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


From an interpretive, post-structuralist perspective, this paper analyzes the discursive constructions of fluid migrant identities through the lens of narrative practice. It describes the presentations of the Self /the Other which get inscribed in a series of truncated stories mobilized by three unsheltered Ghanaians who lived on a bench in a Catalan town. It explores their self-attributed /other-ascribed social categories and argues that these multifaceted identity acts are a lens into how heterogeneous migrant networks apprehend social exclusion in their host societies. It shows that a narrative approach to the interactional processes of migrant identity construction may be revealing of these populations’ social structuration practices, which are ‘internally’ regulated in off-the-radar economies of meaning. It problematizes hegemonic conceptions that present migrants as agency-less, decapitalized storied Selves, and suggests that stagnated populations may also be active tellers who act upon companions and rivals, when fighting for transnational survival in contexts of precariousness.