Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number2.  June 2022                                       Pp. 352-363

Full Paper PDF 


Pulling-Strings: Narratives of Conflicting Identities from Saudi Novice
English Language Professors

Miriam Alkubaidi
English Language Institute
King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia


Received: 1/4/2022                       Accepted:  5/16/2022                        Published:6/24/2022


The present study explores the struggle led by academic novice English language professors against a robust hierarchical administrative system in a Saudi university. The study adopts a qualitative narrative approach. Data were collected in the form of narratives through interviews with six assistant professors who have availed of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program and recently returned to Saudi Arabia. Grounded theory was applied to analyze the data. Thematic analysis was performed to examine the data. The study results showed that the participants claimed that their relationships with colleagues were weak. They shared no interest and are different in sub-majors. Thus, participants found themselves isolated and disconnected. The study concludes that the views of Saudi academics need to be considered. In contrast, the university as an organization needs to be reshaped and restudied to meet the needs of its academic staff. The study’s significance lies in filling the literature gap about how the Saudi professors perceive their identity after returning home and how they deal with the administrative challenges to cope with their working environment.
Keywords: academic identity, administrative challenges, English language professors, higher education,
novice, Saudi university 

Cite as:   Alkubaidi, M. (2022). Pulling-Strings: Narratives of Conflicting Identities from Saudi Novice English Language Professors.
Arab World English Journal, 13 (2) 352-363.


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Received: 1/4/2022
Accepted: 5/16/2022
Published: 6/24/2022 

Miriam Alkubaidi received her Bachelor degree in English literature and English Language Teaching from King Abdulaziz University in 2004. she completed her PhD in the prestigious Trinity College: The University of Dublin in Applied Linguistics in 2017. Her interests in applied linguistics include  Action research, Second language writing, Critical pedagogy, Curriculum Development, Policy reform, and Teacher Identity. ORCid ID: