The discursive construction of gender, ethnicity and the workplace in second generation immigrants’ narratives the case of moroccan women in belgium

Dorien Van De Mieroop

Abstract

This article examines the professional identity construction of three young 2nd generation immigrant women of Moroccan descent who have university degrees and high-skilled jobs. More specifically, I focus on how they construct this professional identity in relation to their gender and ethnicity. The data consist of interviews in which the interviewer explicitly probes for the relation between these topics. Interestingly, all the interviewees construct their professional identities in relatively similar ways. Furthermore, they resist the interviewer’s projections of ethno-professional identities and replace these by professional identities, thus making ethnicity irrelevant for the discussion. Finally, when discussing gendered identities, they all orient to the Western hegemonic model of the struggle in finding a work-life balance. As such, these interviewees bracket ethnicity which may be related to the role of the interviewer, interviews as a genre, and the interviewees’ orientation to societal norms.

Keywords:
Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
Andriessen, I., E. Nievers, L. Faulk, and J. Dagevos
(2010) Liever Mark dan Mohammed? Onderzoek naar Arbeidsmarktdiscriminatie van Niet-Westerse Migranten via Praktijktests. Online at: http://​www​.scp​.nl​/dsresource​?objectid​=24186​&type​=org. Accessed on 19 May 2010 .
Antaki, C.
(2002) An Introductory Tutorial in Conversation Analysis. Online at: http://​www​-staff​.lboro​.ac​.uk​/~ssca1​/sitemenu​.htm. Accessed on 1 December 2009 .
Bamberg, M.
(2004) Considering counter narratives. In M. Bamberg, and M. Andrews (eds.), Considering Counter Narratives: Narrating, Resisting, Making Sense. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.351–372. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Baynham, M.
(2006) Performing self, narrative and community in Moroccan narratives of migration and settlement. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, and M. Bamberg (eds.), Discourse and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 376–397. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Burr, V.
(1995) An Introduction to Social Constructionism. London: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Chilton, P.
(2004) Analysing Political Discourse, Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.  MetBib. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
De Fina, A.
(2003) Identity in Narrative, A Study of Immigrant Discourse. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2006) Group identity, narrative and self-presentations. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, and M. Bamberg (eds.), Discourse and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 351–375. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2009) Narratives in interview - The case of accounts; For an interactional approach to narrative genres. Narrative Inquiry 19.2: 233–258. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2011) Researcher and informant roles in narrative interactions: Constructions of belonging and foreign-ness. Language in Society 40: 27–38. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
De Fina, A., D. Schiffrin, and M. Bamberg
(2006) Introduction. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, and M. Bamberg (eds.), Discourse and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–23. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
De Standaard
(2005) Allochtonen scheiden op z’n Vlaams, De Standaard, 8 October 2005.
(2009) Gemeenschapsonderwijs voert algemeen hoofddoekenverbod, De Standaard, 11 September 2009.
De Volkskrant
(2010) ChristenUnie Noemt Allochtoon Liever ‘Biculturele Burger’. Online at: http://​www​.volkskrant​.nl​/binnenland​/article1377420​.ece​/ChristenUnie​_noemt​_allochtoon​_liever​_biculturele​_burger. Accessed on 19 May 2010 .
Eggerickx, T., C. Kesteloot, M. Poulain, K. Peleman, T. Roesems, and H. Vandenbroeke
(1999) De Allochtone Bevolking in België. Online at: http://​statbel​.fgov​.be​/nl​/binaries​/11A​_nl%5B1%5D​_tcm325​-57837​.pdf. Accessed on 12 May 2010 .
Edwards, D., and J. Potter
(1992) Discursive Psychology. London: Sage.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Georgakopoulou, A.
(2006) Thinking big with small stories in narrative and identity analysis. Narrative Inquiry 16.1: 122–130. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Goffman, E.
(1979) Footing. Semiotica 25.1/2: 1–29. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Hofstede, G.
(2001) Culture’s Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Holstein, J.A., and J.F. Gubrium
(2003) Active interviewing. In J.A. Holstein, and F. Gubrium (eds.), Postmodern Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 67–80. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Johnstone, B.
(1996) The Linguistic Individual. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Labov, W., and J. Waletzky
(1966) Narrative analysis: Oral versions of personal experience. In J. Helm (ed.), Essays on the Verbal and Visual Arts. Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp.12–44.Google Scholar
Lesaffer, P.
(2011) Hema ontslaat winkelbediende voor hoofddoek. De Standaard, 8 March 2011.
Leudar, I., V. Marsland, and J. Nekvapil
(2004) On membership categorization: ‘us’, ‘them’ and ‘doing violence’ in political discourse. Discourse & Society 15.2-3: 243–266. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Linde, C.
(1993) Life Stories, the Creation of Coherence. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Moita-Lopes, L.P.
(2006) On being white, heterosexual and male in a Brazilian school: Multiple positionings in oral narratives. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, and M. Bamberg (eds.), Discourse and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.288-313. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Mullany, L.J.
(2006) Narrative constructions of gender and professional identities. In T. Omoniyi, and G. White (eds.), The Sociolinguistics of Identity. London: Continuum, pp. 157–172.Google Scholar
Mullany, L. J.
(2009) Gender studies and business discourse. In F. Bargiela-Chiappini (ed.), The Handbook of Business Discourse. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 213–225.Google Scholar
Ochs, E., and L. Capps
(2001) Living narrative, Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
OECD
[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] (2010) OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers. Online at: http://​www​.olis​.oecd​.org​/olis​/2009doc​.nsf​/LinkTo​/NT00006976​/$FILE​/JT03273143​.PDF. Accessed on 17 May 2010 .
Paoletti, I., and G. Cavallaro Johnson
(2007) Doing “being ordinary” in an interview narrative with a second generation Italian-Australian woman. In M. Bamberg, A. De Fina, and D. Schiffrin (eds.), Selves and Identities in Narrative and Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 89–105. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Potter, J.
(1996) Representing Reality; Discourse, Rhetoric and Social Construction. London: Sage. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Potter, J., M. Wetherell, and A. Chitty
(1991) Quantification rhetoric – cancer on television. Discourse & Society 2.3: 333–65. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Schiffrin, D.
(1996) Narrative as self-portrait: Sociolinguistic constructions of identity. Language in Society 25: 167–203. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Schnurr, S.
(2009) Constructing leader identities through teasing at work. Journal of Pragmatics 41: 1125–1138. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Tajfel, H.
(1981) Human Groups and Social Categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tannen, D.
(1989) Talking Voices, Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Timor, U., and R. Landau
(1998) Discourse characteristics in the sociolect of repentant criminals. Discourse & Society 9.3: 363–86. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Van De Mieroop, D.
(2011) Identity negotiations in narrative accounts about poverty. Discourse & Society 22.5: 565–591. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Verschelden, W., and P. De Lobel
(2006) Geen hoofddoeken aan loket; Coalitie hakt knoop in diversiteitsluik door. De Standaard, 29 November 2006.
Wagner, I., and R. Wodak
(2006) Performing success: Identifying strategies of self-presentation in women’s biographical narratives. Discourse & Society 17.3: 385–411. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Zimmerman, D.H.
(1988) On conversation: The conversation analytic perspective. In Communication Yearbook 11 (published annually for the International Communication Association). Newbury Park: Sage, pp. 406–432.Google Scholar
(1998) Identity, context and interaction. In C. Antaki, and S. Widdicombe (eds.), Identities in Talk. London: Sage, pp. 87–106.Google Scholar