Narrative Inquiry and Cultural Identities

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Abstract

The focus of this narrative inquiry study was on the identities of five Mexican American women Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) doctoral students in the United States. Data analysis included the investigation of the stylistic features of narratives (i.e., contradictions and turning points) and searching across different fields of experience (i.e., language use) within participants’ narratives. Anzaldúa’s Borderlands theory was also used to honor the complex cultural experiences and the identities of Mexican American women. Findings demonstrate that Mexican American women in CES doctoral programs contend with various parts of their identities as they attempt to balance contradictory expectations related to academia and to their ethnic cultures. Participants also expressed the desire to give back to their communities and often conducted research that linked their academic and cultural identities. Implications for supporting Mexican American women doctoral students include implementing professional development opportunities that enable Mexican American women students to develop meaningful professional connections and to enhance their ability to support their communities. Implications for narrative inquiry research methods will also be addressed.