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

Publisher:
CAIRN
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
M@n@gement, 2012, 15 (4), pp. 350 - 366
Issue Date:
2012-01
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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 peoples 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.
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