Living as an "In-Betweener" In Life and at Work

Book Section (Chapter)

Multiple theories underscore the importance of individuals feeling like they belong to a larger group in order to enhance their psychological well-being (e.g., Sociometer Theory: Leary & Baumeister, 2000; De Silva, McKenzie, Harpham, & Huttly, 2005). The feeling of “belonging” is often determined by the amount of power and the position one holds within a group, as well as one’s values and identifications (Roffey, 3013; Yuval-Davis, 2006). Among marginalized people, a sense of belonging is linked to greater psychological adjustment and positive identity formation. Although belonging is a fundamental aspect of the social and human experience (Putnam, 2000), it is often commonplace that individuals feel unaccepted and marginalized within and outside their social and cultural groups. Belonging across multiple domains both in one’s personal and professional life has been widely studied. However, how the daily experiences of belonging are experienced and vary across personal and professional lives together has received limited attention; research on the impact of these challenges on older adults in palliative and hospice care is non-existent. The chapter focuses on the experiences of feeling “other” and as an “in-betweener” in Latin culture and as a clinician and academic in palliative and hospice care. Specifically, discussion of what it means to be a first-generation Latina achieving academic success, and the tension of maintaining Hispanic cultural capital is explored. In addition, reflections of being a Latina woman in a predominantly majority status institution offering clinical care to those in end of life are shared. These two experiences will be examined in parallel while highlighting how achieving a sense of belonging and cultural capital is fraught with daily tensions of identity in both situations. Domains of belonging in life and in the workplace is discussed under the following organizing framework: 1) being part of something, 2) the process of becoming through constant mediation between material aspects and social components, 3) the process of experiencing boundaries and 4) the attempt to perform, engage and participate (and find spaces for shared practices). How these negotiations inform understanding and work with individuals in end-of-life is a vital part of this chapter’s focus.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ramos, K

Duke Editors

Cited Editors

  • Faircloth, BS; Gonzalez, LM; Ramos, K

Published Date

  • October 22, 2021

Volume / Issue

  • 1 /

Book Title

  • Resisting Barriers to Belonging Conceptual Critique and Critical Applications


  • 6

Start / End Page

  • 121 - 132

Published By

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 1793632138

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781793632135