Applying Bourdieu’s capital-field-habitus framework to migrant careers: Taking stock and adding a transnational perspective

Simy Joy, Annilee M. Game, Ishita G. Toshniwal

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27 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


HRM and Migration scholars increasingly employ Bourdieu’s concepts of capitals, fields and habitus to explain the interrelationships between migrant careers and context. Both literatures employ a Bourdieusean framework to examine devaluation of migrant capitals in host nations and migrant responses to such devaluation. However, their explanations are based on different assumptions of context. HRM literature regards migrants as confined to the host nation context, whereas Migration literature places them in a transnational context, spanning both originating and host nations. In this conceptual paper, we argue for integrating transnational perspectives into HRM literature to offer a more accurate portrayal of contemporary migrant lives, and to capture greater nuance in migrant career experiences. We seek to expand the conceptual lexicon to support new conceptualisations of transnational context, and to explore how locating a Bourdieusean framework in transnational contexts enhances its ability to explain migrant career experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2541-2564
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number20
Early online date26 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Migrant careers
  • Bourdieu
  • Capital
  • Field
  • Habitus
  • Transnationalism

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