Yabancı: An Autoethnography of Migration

Melissa Hauber-Özer


In this article, I examine my own experience—as a white, American woman, an experienced second language educator, and a novice scholar of forced migration—of becoming an immigrant to Turkey. Approached as a reflexive positionality statement in preparation for my dissertation research with Syrian refugees, I explore my shifting insider and outsider roles and how they inform the evolution of my research design and personal and professional identity. I draw on BOURDIEU's theory of capital and use vignettes from my first year in Turkey to illustrate everyday struggles to navigate interactions through perplexing layers of access and exclusion; to gain social, cultural, and linguistic capital; and, ultimately, to build a life in a new country. In this way, I seek to illuminate the experience of transnational adaptation and integration from the perspective of both a language teacher and learner and a migration scholar and migrant.


critical autoethnography; migration; positionality; insider/outsider research; Bourdieu; intercultural capital; Turkey

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.3.3328

Copyright (c) 2019 Melissa Hauber-Özer

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