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Global nomadism: a discursive and narratological analysis of identity concepts in the 'mobile professional'.

Whitehead, Gabriela


Gabriela Whitehead


Robert Halsall

Seonaidh McDonald


This thesis examined to what extent a particular class of highly mobile professionals has internalized the contemporary discourse of corporate global nomadism, proposed by the researcher as an example of the kind of corporate discourses that are emerging to encompass the ideology of neoliberalism and which are inscribed in a particular genre of popular managerial and globalization literature through prescription of ideal attitudes and forms of behaviour. The researcher selected a representative sample of corporate texts that comprises books by management gurus and popular writers on globalization and corporate websites by consultancy firms, and collected personal narratives or life stories from a sample of professionals who in the pursuit of work have relocated internationally more than once. These texts were cross-analysed to identify how the discourse of corporate global nomadism is manifested, whether in similar or contradictory ways. This analysis combined the methodological framework of critical discourse analysis with narrative analysis, with a particular emphasis on deconstruction and intertextuality. A characteristic feature of this study is the use of online communication technologies to encompass research participants who are geographically dispersed. The principal original contribution to knowledge of this dissertation is the relationship made between the contemporary discourse of corporate global nomadism and the ideology of neoliberalism. The methodologies and methods used in the elaboration of this research are also important contributions. The most prominent finding of this study is that the attitudes of the research participants towards their own mobility are contradictory as their self-representation from the standpoints of the context of work and the private sphere are discursively confronted. This dissonance in the narratives represents struggles in the life of the research participants as they attempt to meet corporate demands for continuous global mobility. The findings of this study show that despite the persuasive power of certain corporate discourses they are not passively assumed by individuals, meaning that the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism as a dominant ideology underlying modern organizations is not absolute, because individuals consciously or subconsciously resist and challenge the messages it conveys.


WHITEHEAD, G. 2015. Global nomadism: a discursive and narratological analysis of identity concepts in the 'mobile professional'. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 25, 2015
Keywords Critical discourse analysis; Narrative analysis; Corporate discourse; Nomadism; Mobility; Expatriate; Online research; Neoliberalism
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