Migrant identities in narrative practice: In-/out-group constructions of 'comrades' and 'rivals' in storytelling about transnational life

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Sabaté Dalmau, MariaSabaté Dalmau, Maria - ORCID ID
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From an interpretive, post-structuralist perspective, this paper analyzes the discursive constructions of fluid migrant identities through the lens of narrative practice. I describe 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. I explore their self-attributed /other-ascribed social categories and argue that these multifaceted identity acts are a lens into how heterogeneous migrant networks apprehend social exclusion in their host societies. I show 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. I problematize hegemonic conceptions that present migrants as agency-less, decapitalized storied Selves, and suggest that stagnated populations may also be active tellers who act upon companions and rivals, when fighting for transnational survival in contexts of precariousness.
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Narrative Inquiry, 2015, vol. 25, núm. 1, p. 91-112