Publication Details

Fernando, M., Reveley, J. & Learmonth, M. (2020). Identity work by a non-white immigrant business scholar: Autoethnographic vignettes of covering and accenting. Human Relations, 73 (6), 765-788.


How do immigrants with multiple sources of identity deal with the identity tensions that arise from misidentification within the workplace? In order to answer this question, we reposition two under-researched self-presentational identity work strategies - covering and accenting - as particular types of intersectional identity work. Adopting a minoritarian perspective, we apply this framework to an autoethnographic study of a non-white business scholar's identity work. To the extent that covering and accenting allow the scholar to draw identity resources from non-threatening and widely available social identities, we find that this work enables him to avoid being discredited in the eyes of others. Yet, as a practical response to being misidentified, it also risks reproducing oppressive social structures. We conclude that as ways of doing intersectional identity work, covering and accenting take on heightened significance for non-white immigrants who seek to craft identities at the intersection of several discriminable and stigmatizable categories of difference.

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