Toronto Metropolitan University
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"We are chameleons" : exploring identity capital in a multicultural workplace environment

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:08 authored by Mabel Ho

This exploratory research investigates James Cote's concept of "identity capital" in a multicultural workplace environment. Guided by Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical approach to capital, the focus is to examine the strategic deployment of identity capital between adults in a multicultural immigrant-serving agency in Mississauga, Ontario. After conducting fifteen interviews, the findings can be broadly summarized by the following: first, identity capital is deployed in social situations with the clients, colleagues and supervisor in the work place; second, the deployment of identity capital, through greeting, body language, finding connecting pieces or the method of communication is done unconsciously; third, the strategic deployment of identity capital is individualized to the audience; and fourth, identity presentations has the potential to benefit the individual, the audience and the community. This paper concludes that identity capital is a useful concept that demonstrates the varied resources individuals have in negotiating and navigating the changing social environment.





  • Master of Arts


  • Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Harald Bauder