Discursive scaling : Moral stability and neoliberal dominance in the narratives of transnational migrant women

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-42
Journal / PublicationDiscourse and Society
Issue number1
Online published31 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


In this article I apply the notion of scaling as agentive discursive practice to analyze the construction of moral positionings by migrant women. I draw from semi-structured interviews with Uzbek women in the United States and use discourse analytic methods to focus on the relationship between linguistic choices and existing power structures. I show that although these women are caught between multiple moral orders, by linking behaviors associated with these orders to different time–space configurations and different scopes of generalizability, they are able to justify their choices and highlight the stability of their own morality. I further demonstrate that while these acts of scaling are agentive, they may also be used to reinforce rather than dismantle existing hierarchies, pointing to the need for further investigation of the relationship between agency, discourse and power in contemporary globalization.

Research Area(s)

  • Chronotopes, discourse analysis, fate talk, morality, neoliberalism, scales, transnationalism, Uzbek, women’s language