Gendering migration narratives

a qualitative inquiry on language use and agency in adaptation stories

Authors

  • Bahar Tanyas Okan University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v10i1.17495

Keywords:

narrative, gender, agency, Turkish immigrants, United Kingdom

Abstract

The present study is an attempt to explore gendered construction of agency in and through personal narratives in the context of migration with a group of young Turks in the UK. Narratives relating the initial phase of migration were analysed via a systematic comparison regarding the construction of themes, the structure of narratives and performance in male and female migration stories. In men’s narratives, protagonists’ personal agency -their capacity to act on resources to adapt- appears to centre on their ability to distance themselves from vulnerabilities. However, preserving the protagonist from vulnerabilities to assign him an agentic position restricts the narrator’s ability to tell varied stories. In young women’s narratives, vulnerabilities are constructed as the main basis for their present identities and capabilities. Although this construction provides young women with a flexible position as a narrator and a protagonist, personal agency is constructed in a split manner.

Author Biography

Bahar Tanyas, Okan University

Bahar Tanyas is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and vice-dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Okan University. The work reported on in this article was carried out at Birkbeck College as part of Tanyas’s PhD dissertation. The first publication from the thesis is ‘Making sense of migration: young Turks’ experiences in the United Kingdom’ (Journal of Youth Studies, 2012).

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Published

2016-03-17

How to Cite

Tanyas, B. (2016). Gendering migration narratives: a qualitative inquiry on language use and agency in adaptation stories. Gender and Language, 10(1), 85–105. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v10i1.17495

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Section

Articles