Negotiating Multiple Identities Within Multiple Frames: An Analysis of First-Generation College Students

Orbe, 2004 / Communication Education / April 2004

 two males on computer

This article draws from narratives, collected from 79 first-generation college (FGC) students across several different campuses, to explore the saliency of FGC student status and the various ways in which it is enacted during interactions with others. Communication theory of identity serves as the study’s theoretic foundation. Multiple points of analysis capture the complex nature of identity negotiation for FGC students. Findings warrant three conclusions: (1) the salience of FGC status in their daily interactions varies considerably among students; (2) FGC status appears to be more important for individuals who also identify as co-cultural group members; and (3) FGC students appear to lack any significant sense of communal identity