Reconceptualising ‘home’, ‘family’ and ‘self’: identity struggles in domestic migrant worker returnee narratives

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on a study of domestic migrant worker returnee narratives. The stories were recorded in villages in Java, Indonesia, and the women talk about their experience of remigration. Because of years of separation, family members are ‘family’ only in name, and the familiar concept of ‘home’ has become a strange place. The homecoming therefore involves attempts to redefine ‘self’ and ‘home’, and to reconnect emotionally with estranged family members. The article also considers returnee narratives as a critique of current identity research, which assumes that everybody ‘has’ or ‘owns’ an identity, but fails to recognise that for many people in developing countries, identity is an enforced position for which there is no alternative. It has to be occupied and it is not attributed with any prestige and therefore, cannot be used a resource for enhancing privilege. Finally, the article argues that migrant workers’ experiences should be included in our thinking about globalisation and intercultural communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-303
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019


  • discourse analysis
  • disenfranchised groups
  • Domestic migrant workers
  • globalisation
  • identity struggles
  • returnee narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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