Examining the Interplay of Career, Migration and National Cultural Identity: The Case of Indian Scientists



In this paper, we examine individuals’ career migration across international borders. It is widely recognized that globalization has fundamental implications for the careers of people across geographical and cultural boundaries. However, our understanding of the interplay of migration, career development and national/cultural identities remains undeveloped within the extant literature. In this paper, we seek to offer insights into this relationship. Focusing on Indian scientists, an occupational group whose careers have long been associated with movement around the world, in this paper we examine these issues. Empirically, we examine three themes: why Indian scientists see international mobility as important in the development of their careers; continued links with India; and the interplay of national/cultural affiliation and respondents’ career experiences. In light of our findings, in the discussion section we argue that considering Indian scientists as a career diaspora highlights three important features that in the main have received only limited attention in the extant literature: career as a social form and process; the notion of the scientific career as a cultural product; and the interrelationship of career and national/cultural affiliation as ongoing facets of individuals’ identities as they develop diasporic careers.