Gender and Diversity Stream of the Critical Management Studies Workshop location:Montreal (Canada) date:4-5 August 2010
Based on 26 interviews with second-generation minority professionals working in Flemish organizations, this paper explores the hybrid identity struggles of individuals trying to transcend boundaries between categories and reconcile identity positions that are considered mutually exclusive. To do so, we draw on both the literature on hybridity, describing the mixture of cultural elements held to be different, and the broader identity literature, stressing the link between identity processes and insecurity. We first show how hybrid identities are constructed in the midst of identity insecurities. Second, we illustrate how these hybrid identifications might be a new source of insecurities and identity struggles, as individuals risk falling in-between the categories they try to combine. Third, we show how such individuals try to deal with this situation by constructing narratives of richness, by trying to escape the current binary context or by accepting it as a given. In this way, we provide insight in the identity struggles of both minority individuals and boundary-crossers in general.