Navigating the labour market in a new context can be a challenge for any migrant, and
particularly so for former refugees, who are often unable to find employment appropriate for
their qualification and experience levels. This study takes an Interactional Sociolinguistic
approach to exploring how three former refugees navigate employability in narrative, from the
social constructionist perspective of employable identities, emergent from and negotiated
within discourse. The study focuses specifically on the participants’ discursive navigation of
their various (Bourdieusian) social and cultural capital and its importance to labour market
performance. Evident in the data are the difficulties of translating – or having recognised – a
lifetime’s accumulation of capital, often rendered worthless upon migration. Such challenges
impact upon forced migrants’ ability to successfully enact employability, and subsequently
upon their imagined (future) identities. This research highlights former refugees’ complex
challenges involved with successful navigation of employability in a new context.


Creator | Kaihanga
Dr Emily Greenbank
Year of Creation | Tau
Publisher | Kaiwhakaputa
Narrative Inquiry Journal
Creative Commons Licence
Attribution CC BY
Keywords | Kupu
refugees, social capital, cultural capital, employable identity, migration
Main Language | Reo Matua
Submitter's Rights | Nga Tika o te Kaituku
I am the author / creator of this resource
This Research has
been peer reviewed by academics at a university
Bibliographic Citation | Whakapuakanga

Greenbank, E. (2021). Employable identities: Social and cultural capital in the narratives of
former refugees. Narrative Inquiry, x(x), xx–xx.

Back to top