This paper uses ethnographic data from an Australian university to explore constructs of “otherness” focusing on women in lower-level university work. The work of these women, who hold both academic and non-academic staff positions, takes place in the spatial and symbolic locale we call the “ivory basement“. Poststructural feminism provides the basis for an examination of the contradictions and subtleties of their identity work as they respond to the pressures of restructuring and managerialism. Faced with a request from these women for certain aspects of their relational work to remain unseen, unrecognised and unspoken, this study assents to that request and focuses instead on options for how poststructural feminism might elaborate their identity work stories. The paper is concerned with the tensions between women's own struggle with being positioned as “other” and poststructural feminist theorizing of the same.