‘Walk like a chameleon’: gendered diasporic identities and settlement experiences

Reshmi Lahiri-Roy, Nish Belford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Identity in relation to ‘settlement’ as a migrant generates challenges in redefining the old self into what one is and/or ought to become. The process of ‘becoming’ and redefinition of the ‘self’ leads to an ongoing struggle alongside the context, practices and culture of the host country thus creating multiple challenges while discarding or modifying popular notions of self and culture. Identities are fluid and subject to varying degrees of change brought about by one’s experiences and culture. As two ethnic migrant women in Australia, living in the context of social cleavages encompassing race, gender, culture, class, education and memories, we acknowledge our hybrid identities based on our past selves and the borrowed/adapted ways of doing and being in Australia. Tied in with these issues of identity is the concept of ‘settlement’ in Australia. While remaining mindful that dislocation of nation is not always dislocation of gender and social class, our autoethnographic accounts reveal our negotiations of ‘settlement’ within this alien yet now familiar space. In the process, this paper highlights the need for a niche discussion space for unpacking the experiences of transnational women of colour such as us who occupy a zone of what we term as ‘privileged marginalisation’.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalSouth Asian Popular Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • autoethnography
  • Gendered Diasporic identities
  • intersectionality
  • settlement

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