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Understanding the complexities of nomadic identities

Special issue call for papers from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Special Issue: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – An international journal (EDI)

Understanding the complexities of nomadic identities

Prof Jasmin Mahadevan, Pforzheim University, [email protected]
Prof Mustafa Özbilgin, Brunel University, [email protected]

In a globalized world, transnational and transcultural research on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is on the rise. However, the mere terms ‘transnational’ and ‘transcultural’ imply a perspective that takes the concepts of nationality and culture/ethnicity as starting point of analysis. This stream attempts to reconfigure these concepts from their borders and to interrogate the complexities of nomadic identities.

With nomadic identities we mean the identities of those who are not in a temporary and liminal state of ‘transnationality’ and ‘transculturality’ but who inhabit the in-between permanently and might not even conceive themselves in majority-perspective dichotomies such as ‘bi-national’ or ‘bi-cultural’. We use the term broadly: With nomadic, we do not only refer to the chronic expatriate manager but to all who are born, placed or place themselves into a state of expatriation, migration or transculturality. With this special issue, we would like to explore the shifting modes of interplay between individual identity and place in the context of work.

We are interested in multi-disciplinary exchange and in stimulating discussions on the nature of nomadic identities. Therefore, we welcome papers from all disciplines and all methodological perspectives. We encourage both junior and more senior scholars to submit; both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.
We are particularly interested in empirical and conceptual research that examines the complexities of nomadic identities from multilevel perspective, e.g. micro-individual, meso-organizational and macro-societal. The micro-individual level is linked to subjective concepts of self and identity as held by nomadic individuals. The meso-organizational level acknowledges the influence of intermediate forms of social organization, such as workplaces and career paths. The macro-societal level refers to all boundary conditions that influence and might change micro- and meso-level interaction, such as diversity or immigration policies. We are particularly interested in research which reflects on the way macro, meso and micro levels interact to form unique configurations of nomadic identity.  We are looking for research that acknowledges the complexities of identities across more than one level or more than one context. Papers that are based on multi-methodological approaches and/or interdisciplinary perspectives are welcome.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

• How can nomadic identities be studied and conceptualized? Which methods and theoretical perspectives are suitable for studying nomadic identities? How to incorporate the study of nomadic identities into career and management studies? 

• Does the researcher have to be a nomadic individual to study nomadic identities? What are the requirements with regard to researcher identity in order to study nomadic identities?

• Who are nomadic individuals in the modern world? What are the different types of nomadic identities and how are they related to each other and to the national and cultural/ethnic majority?

• How is the concept of nomadic identities linked to broader themes of equality, diversity and inclusion? How can the concepts of transnationality and transculturality be broadened to also include nomadic identities?

• Are there similarities and differences with regard to the career choices of nomadic individuals? How do organizational policies and state policy intervention influence the career paths of nomadic individuals? Are there any contextual differences? 

• What explains the difference between those individuals who explore and live their nomadic identities successfully and those who fail in the process? Are there similarities and difference with regard to ethnicity, culture, country of origin or other factors? Are there privileged and underprivileged nomadic identities?

• How is the concept of the nomadic self as held by nomadic individuals linked to ascription by others? Do the inside (emic) and outside (etic) perspective clash? Does power or inequality of power influence the negotiation and reconfiguration of nomadic identities? Do nomadic individuals suffer exclusion and inequality?

• Are nomadic individual an asset or a liability to societies and/or organizations? How are organizational concepts of human capital related to the concept of nomadic identity and is this relation an uncontested or a critical one? 

This call is open and competitive, and the submitted papers will be blind reviewed in the normal way. Submission will be taken to imply that a paper contains original work that has not previously been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors should follow the journal's regular guidelines, as published in every issue of the journal. Papers should be no longer than 7,000 words.

January 01, 2012 Call for papers issued
September 01, 2012 Deadline for submission of papers
December 15, 2012 Authors notified of outcome of peer review
February 15, 2013 Authors to submit final papers to Editors
April 2013 Editorial decision
2013 Expected publication of the special issue

Prospective contributors can also liaise with the Guest Editors before the submission date to discuss the suitability of their work for this publication. All submissions for the special issue will be subject to full peer review.

For further information about the journal, and link to author guidelines and submission, please visit the EDI web pages via:

Please note that the submissions should be made through Manuscript Central. Papers to be considered for this special issue should be submitted online via: (selecting "Special Issue Paper" (Nomadic Identities) as the Manuscript Type).


Mahadevan, J. (2012), Are engineers religious? An interpretative approach to cross-cultural conflict and collective identities. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 12 (1), forthcoming January 2012.

Mahadevan, J. (2011), Reflexive guidelines for writing organizational culture.
Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 6(2), pp. 150-170.

Özbilgin, M. and Tatli, A. (2011) Mapping out the field of equality and diversity: rise of individualism and voluntarism, Human Relations, 64(2), pp. 1229-1253

Özbilgin M. (ed.) (2009) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work, Cheltenham and New York: Edward Elgar Press. ISBN: 1847203353

Özbilgin, M and Tatli, A. (2008) Global Diversity Management: An Evidence Based Approach, London and New York: Palgrave. ISBN: 1403996105