Enjoying the Betwixt and Between: Liminoid identity construction on Twitter

Patrick L. Lê*, Michel W. Lander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prior research predominantly portrays states of ‘betwixt and between’ in identity construction as unsettling, given the ambiguity and uncertainty they raise. However, our study suggests that in-betweenness can be experienced with comfort. To characterize such process of identity construction, we appeal to Turner’s concept of liminoid, involving optionality, in contrast to the concept of liminal, involving obligation. Using an extensive dataset of interviews and observations on Twitter, we show how journalists comfortably construct online identities ‘betwixt and between’ as they exert autonomy in this process and learn to skilfully balance the freedom they enjoy with the constraints they still face. By reintroducing the underexplored concept of liminoid and extending it through the notion of autonomy, we clarify prior research conflating different identity construction processes with the concept of liminality. Furthermore, we provide a nuanced picture that takes into account structural constraints by showing that to ensure the comfort of their experience individuals must develop a liminoid competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519-1540
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume44
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

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