Communicating Life and Career Transitions
Immigrant workers’ narratives of work and its nuances in an adopted country offer many hitherto muted, invisible, and/or purposely silenced perspectives. A variety of new and familiar terms – concepts such as career inheritance, aphorisms, cultural adaptation, acculturation, and cultural distance – and culture-specific terms such as ganas and consejos are discussed alongside the inherent struggles of identity construction across borders.
While the contributors represent diversity in co-cultural affiliations, national origin, and immigration experiences encountered both personally and professionally, the stories of immigrants represent an even larger number of countries and cultures.
This volume compels the academic community to acknowledge immigrants as workers whose voices matter and whose sense and processes of meaning-making is nuanced, complex, and multi-dimensional. Immigrant workers’ voices can contribute significantly to the rich growth of research in organizational communication, meanings of work, career studies, cross-cultural management, psychology of work, and work and society.
Chapter Four: Immigrants’ Negotiations of Career Inheritance: A (Dis)placement Framework
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Immigrants’ Negotiations of Career Inheritance: A (Dis)placement Framework
Social constructionist and communicative scholars of career examine how people talk about their work and thus constitute it through discourse (Cheney, Zorn, Planalp, & Lair, 2008; Stead, 2004). In particular, Inkson (2004, 2007) highlights the metaphor of legacy, re-presenting career as a form of inheritance, which foregrounds what individuals have imbibed from role models in different life contexts (e.g., home, workplace). Although most of this literature focuses on white-collar jobs and workers located in the global North, scholars have urged greater attention to how cultural minorities and immigrants, in different locations and professions, negotiate work and career (Gabor & Buzzanell, 2012; Shinnar, 2007; Yakushko, Backhaus, Watson, Ngaruiya, & Gonzalez, 2008).
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