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Exploring identity construction from a critical management perspective: a research agenda

Abstract : In contemporary western society, questions of identity concerning "who am I?" and "how should I act?" (Alvesson, 2000: 1105) are now a central concern in people's lives. Indeed, the western, liquidly modern context (Bauman 2000; 2001; 2003; 2005; Bauman & Haugaard 2008; Bauman & Tester 2001) is characterized, precisely, by absences: the loss of traditional sources of authority, such as family, union, or religion, foundations that used to provide individuals with a collective sense of belonging around commonly taken-for-granted bases of identification (Collinson, 2003). The absent spaces are now occupied by a multitude of ephemeral bases of identification that blur old dualisms such as capital and labour, man and woman, married or single. Culturally tribal fashionable codes of speaking, dressing, playing, and so forth, mostly grounded in consumption rather than production, increasingly provide experiences of belonging. In such a fragmented context, constructing a distinctive identity becomes a constantly shifting project (Knights & Willmott, 1989; Giddens, 1991; McAdams, 1996). Consequently, individuals tend now to problematize identity through projects of the self more likely undertaken at an individual or group level rather than as a part of an organized collective process that is automatically reproduced. Slowly, management research has been coming to terms with liquid modernity (Clegg and Baumeler, 2010). Critical post-structuralist perspectives are among the several approaches that are engaged in this process, and provide insight into the question of identity. The goal of this Unplugged is thus to provide our views about the past, present and future of studies about identity from a critical post-structuralist perspective.
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Thibaut Bardon, Stewart Clegg, Emmanuel Josserand. Exploring identity construction from a critical management perspective: a research agenda. M@n@gement, AIMS (Association internationale de management stratégique), 2012, 15 (4), pp.350-366. ⟨10.3917/mana.154.0351⟩. ⟨hal-00949864⟩

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