'I am the ultimate challenge': Accounts of intersectionality in the life-story of a well-known daughter of Moroccan migrant workers in the Netherlands

Marjo Buitelaar*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    73 Citations (Scopus)


    This article aims to demonstrate that the concept of the 'dialogical self' is an identity theory that provides useful tools for studying intersectionality. In terms of the dialogical self, the formation of identity is a process of orchestrating voices within the self that speak from different I-positions. Such voices are embedded in field-specific repertoires of practices, characters, discourses and power relations specific to the various groups to which individuals simultaneously belong. By telling one's life-story, the individual intones these voices and combines them in new ways, thus reshaping them as they use them. The article applies the theoretical concept of the dialogical self to the analysis of the life-story of a relatively well-known female Dutch politician of Moroccan background whose explanation of why she wears a headscarf allows her to combine the religious and political voices in her story with her more hesitant female voice. The words, images and self-evaluations used in her self-narratives demonstrate the ways in which her religious, ethnic and gender identifications are formed and are in dialogue.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-276
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean journal of womens studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug-2006


    • dialogical self
    • Islam
    • life-story
    • Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands
    • narrative identity

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