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Immigrant Workers and Meanings of Work

Communicating Life and Career Transitions

Suchitra Shenoy-Packer and Elena Gabor

This first-of-its-kind book uniquely captures the meanings of work expressed by immigrants. Their stories – from work histories to life transitions and professional journeys – are conscientiously and rigorously mapped by the academic insights of communication scholars, many of whom are immigrants themselves.
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.
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Contributors

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Pamela J. Bettis (Ph.D., University of Toledo) is an associate professor in the Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education program at Washington State University, USA, where she tries to understand the dynamics of gender, work, and schooling. She is co-author of two books, Geographies of Girlhood (2005) and Cheerleader! An American Icon (2003), and has published in Sociology of Education, Gender and Society, and International Handbook on Sport, Gender and Sexuality.

Ryan S. Bisel (Ph.D., University of Kansas) is associate professor of organizational communication in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, USA. His research interests include leadership communication, organizational culture, and behavioral ethics. His work is published in outlets such as Human Relations, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Theory, Small Group Research, and Leadership Quarterly.

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