Ainsworth presents a reflection on the process of doing critical discourse research using examples from a current project on the discursive construction of older worker identity. The study illustrated the potential of discourse analysis to enhance understanding of the processes and implications of public policy development.
This paper investigates the notion of corporate social responsibility. The focus is on analyzing, using different semantic tools, the perception that companies have of their social responsibility as well as the action plans that they initiate in this field. Based on four institutional communications produced by the companies, we establish various levels of reading thanks to narrative analysis and to metaphors, in particular of the fuzzy borders between the map and the territory or the undulation of the positioning of the writer. The reports on social responsibility were then identified like instruments of speech seeking to praise the actions of the companies, in the form of a type of communication which one could describe as propaganda. Beyond what is said, the article aims at identifying the sense given by the corporate world to social responsibility.
Presents information on articles on discourses and paradigms. Analysis of educational discourses delivered by professors who were part of a multidisciplinary teaching team; Critique of the orthodoxy that the world is changing at an ever faster rate.
The central aim of this study is to provide a critical analysis of oppositional practices in the workplace by exploring the role of worker subjectivity in shaping and articulating contemporary strategies of resistance. First, a theoretical analysis will be presented which seeks to challenge many of the dualistic assumptions that have underpinned traditional studies of resistance. It is argued that the re-entry of subjectivity into the analysis of resistance provides a means for escaping these dualisms and retrieving the analytical and empirical significance of oppositional practices. The argument suggests that although subjectivities are indeed effects of power, and that individuals are positioned in relation to dominant discourses - and therefore constituted as having certain interests - power is not fixed and thus cannot completely or permanently determine identity. This instability of power makes apparent certain fragilities within these dominant discourses and makes them liable to threats and seductions from subject positions within different or competing discourses, it is suggested that these fractures and competing subject positions afford small but important spaces for resistance. The second half of this essay presents a detailed case study of the Acme School. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed to explore the subjective experiences of resistant members of Acme toward recent government reform initiatives. Two dominant strategies were identified: 'resistance through distance' and 'resistance through persistence' and it was demonstrated that an understanding of different subjectivities is vital to appreciating how these distinct strategies emerged.
In recent years, feminist scholars have made substantial inroads toward a better understanding of the intricacies and complexities of organizing. Through the metatheoretical lens of a “feminist communicology of organization,” gender is seen as a dynamic principle of organizing, and organizations are seen as fundamentally gendered. By looking at both the macro- and micro-level activities of gendered organizing, we obtain a much richer, organic understanding of the processes inherent in creating and sustaining organizations. Such an approach helps us to understand one of the newest forms of organization-the virtual one-that exists both discursively and materially only in the virtual world. To better understand how organizing is accomplished in the virtual world, we have chosen to focus on the postings to a “renegade” web site called “Teamster.net.” This site was established by and for members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters but is not sanctioned by The Teamsters. Through content analysis, we studied the ongoing discussions concerning if, and how, this site should be moderated, and by whom. We found that these chat room dialogues exhibit the key characteristics of multiple discourses occurring simultaneously. Contributors are both social actors and the objects of multiple discourses that seek to normalize and control these actors, often occurring in disjunctive and contradictory ways. While contributors acknowledge the need for both social equality and respect, their mechanisms for dealing with these contradictions are most often unconscious; in psychoanalytic terms, compromise formations. Thus we offer this deeper understanding of virtual organizations through the metatheoretical lens of feminist communicology and the theoretical lens of compromise formations.
This article is based on a framework for assessing and working with mental models and utilizing the exploration of ‘dominant’ worldviews to increase individual and organizational competency to identify, assess and shift worldviews to foster social change. The author describes her methodology and results during the data collection, data analysis, data feedback, and intervention phases of a consultation with a client. She reviews literature on white privilege, mental models, power, and cultural competency. The author reflects on implications of the engagement for the client, herself and the discourse on the role of OD as a catalyst for social change.
Analyzing discourses is potentially a very powerful method for social research, and any such analysis should have a powerful voice, but to be truly powerful it must be able to have something to contribute towards policy. In this paper I reflect on discourse analysis broadly and how it might engage policy makers more fully. The paper suggests why policy-makers in Western nations might not listen to, or resist the demonstration of how discursive forces shape their experiences and indeed their understanding of the plight of refugees. This problem can be traced to Western society’s reliance on a discourse of modernism which conflicts with policy-makers need to critically examine issues of inclusion, racism and integration as a result of large refugee intakes. As analysts we need to make sure we too move to something postmodern, and rather than a broad attack on policy-makers we need to find a way to engage new inclusive discourses to unpack discursive instances in local settings in a collaborative fashion and allow a space for policy-makers to not only read and act on the discursive research findings, but engage in the very tenets of social ‘constructionism’.
This paper contends that knowledge-making is a political act. In reflecting on the nature of personal narrative and its uses for refugee research, three insights emerge: first, just as the personal is political, so too, the political is personal; next, any storytelling is political in its attention to audience, and is inflected by the discourses available at the time; and finally, researchers must understand that if storying is to grapple with the richness and complexity of lived experience, it will probably be chaotic and messy, as well as clear and straightforward. Researchers wanting to investigate the sociology of refugee experiences might be well advised to ensure that the stories they gather from research participants are not too neat, too straightforward, too much reduced to bare essentials in their telling, lest the chance to allow the stories to become personally and politically resonant be lost. Further, researchers who are conscious of the political resonance of narrative are advised to ensure that they draw attention to the narrative element embedded in their research reports and papers by finding ways to communicate the narratives directly to the commissioning policy makers and politicians through verbal and pictorial seminar presentations, as well as through the reports themselves. These insights have implications for research processes (the gathering and analysis of data) and for the presentation and writing up of research documents.
Different frameworks guide our research. In this edition we are interested to see how the methodology of discourse analysis is useful for shaping policy in the context of refugees, and we have included work from a variety of researchers all of whom engage with discourses in the context of refugees. A sub-theme of this issue emanates from our collective experiences working in a broad range of disciplines, many of which have relied upon qualitative data collection and in turn the analysis of narrative. Narrative data and discourse analysis are two different, though interrelated, approaches that are commonly used in the social sciences, but often they are either confused or have little or no impact at the policy level. While this paper focuses on the issue of discourse analysis, other papers within the issue concentrate on the use of narrative in constructing meaning and recording the experiences of refugees in Western nations. It is important that readers are aware of both discourse analysis and narrative in terms of refugee studies.
Discrimination in the work place based on gender has been the subject of various studies; however, these studied have not discussed the possibility of the existence of superimposed psychographic characteristics, which could weaken or strengthen this practice of discrimination. The research presented here, enlightened by the ontological premise of post-modern criticism, seeks to verify whether the discrimination of the female gender in the work place is an isolated social phenomenon or if it is intertwined with other types of discrimination. To this end, a field study took place from March, 2006 to July, 2008, in public and private companies. Thirty-three women and thirty-seven men of various ages, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations were interviewed. The reports were transcribed and underwent discourse analysis. The field study revealed that: (a) women are, in fact, submitted to discriminatory practices in the work place, such practices which are not rarely hidden under a mask of humor and informality; (b) in spite of their macho attitudes and comments, the men who commit them don’t perceive them as such; (c) Brazilian national culture prevails over organizational cultures; (d) gender cannot be treated as a fixed category since questions of esthetics, ethnic backgrounds, social class and sexual orientation accentuate the discrimination, and, finally; (e) contrary to what happens with blacks, ugly people, and homosexuals, towards whom discrimination is lighter when they occupy a more favorable social position or hierarchy, the same does not happen with women.
In recent years, entrepreneurship scholars have begun studying entrepreneurship from social, prosaic, narrative, and discursive dimensions. These ―new movement‖ approaches privilege both business and non-business perspectives. Research in this domain of inquiry seeks to account for the everyday and mundane practices of social actors that can be characterized as entrepreneurial; therefore, prosaic approaches can de-center the narrative of entrepreneurship as comprised solely of a group of elite entrepreneurs. While researchers are encouraged to describe entrepreneurship from a life-story perspective, few scholars have used a self-narrative approach to writing about entrepreneurship. In this article, I use autoethnography to provide a personal account of entrepreneurship. I reflexively interrogate the ways in which I have reproduced, disrupted, benefited from, and been hindered by the dominant enterprise discourses in the United States. A prosaic approach using self-narrative, as demonstrated, is already engaged in a process of restorying entrepreneurship scholarship because it takes into account, among other things, the details of everyday entrepreneurial activity and is receptive to heterodox accounts (even stories that end in entrepreneurial failure).
Using Bourdieu‘s economic approach to language as the focal point, the paper addresses the dilemmas arising from the co-existence of a global, English and a national, Danish discourse within the field of higher education in Denmark. The first part shows how the emergence of a global knowledge market has prompted Danish university managers to develop new policies on language, promoting the idea of ‗parallel language usage‘ in an attempt to justify to staff and students the ongoing normalisation of English within the areas of research and teaching. The second part looks at the question of English domination from the position of the university lecturers. Drawing on qualitative research interviews collected at four Danish faculties, the analysis demonstrates how ‗English only‘ strategies have affected teachers‘ practice and how they have responded by developing idiosyncratic rules deriving from local needs rather than global principles. The paper concludes that there seems to be resistance to the normalisation of English within the Danish university system but that such behaviours tend to be hidden rather than explicit.
Contemporary organizations feature absence of boundaries and are increasingly defined by loose couplings, pluri-vocality and network configurations. What Foucault (1995) addressed as a former society of discipline is transformed and replaced into what Deleuze (1995) refines as a society of control that incorporates its subjects into new and ever changing lines of subjectification. This transformation of dispositifs (Deleuze, 1992; Foucault, 1980) and authoritative discourses (Bakhtin, 1982) that compose (and is composed of) a contemporary way of living induces in other words new types of embodied organizational knowledge and ways of organizing, which have consequences for how subject positions are (re)configured in everyday corporate lives. Such identity work is rarely studied in local discursive practices of today’s modern and emergent corporations. The aspiration in the present article is to scrutinize local practices in a dialogue based leadership development forum in university settings. This provides insights into the lived lives and identity work in Aalborg University representing a temporary, polyphonic and cross-disciplinary research project in a modern corporation. The project was an example of a loose-coupled and temporary arrangement/organization that invited a diverse group of participants to engage in the co-production of knowledge in/on leadership communicative practices. The participants were professional leaders from diverse organizations in the North of Jutland together with researchers and candidate students from the study programs of communication and philosophy at Aalborg University.
The present study conceptualizes engagement by following Marifran Mattson’s story—from tragic motorcycle accident to community engagement. The authors advance a fivepart conceptualization of engagement and test its usefulness by exploring it in relation to a stage model approach and by contrasting it to Bourdieu’s theory of timidity and habitus in relation to symbolic violence. The community engagement begins with a motorcycle safety campaign and expands to include the development of support groups and public policy regarding health insurance fairness for amputees (a.k.a. prosthetic parity). The analysis draws on critical ethnography and the interpretation draws on alternative perspectives and reflexivity. The findings suggest that the stage model is less useful than Bourdieu’s theory in explaining discursive practices, the role of professional discourses, and the emergence of heroic activism and heroic discourse in community engagement. Overall, the study paints a picture of what Boyer (1996) called the “scholarship of engagement.”
A significant aspect of learning how to be a lawyer includes the acquisition—through trial and error—of a way of speaking, reading and writing that is unique to the work of doing law. Embodying this professional role requires the ability to parse and produce large amounts of complex, jargon-rich language known as ‘legalese:’ a learned communicative skill which produces a craftbound discourse (Maley 1987). The law school graduate, moreover, typically enters the workforce with little experience in legal practice. A three year education must therefore provide sufficient training for their immediate professional future. Words must fulfill the role that experience cannot.
In conjunction with ethnographic observation of first year classes at a major law school, I analyzed classroom interaction for patterns in talk that foster a sense of professional identity. Hypothetical situations emerged as a striking unit of analysis. Professors presented brief, improvised descriptions of potential legal quandaries, while positioning students as characters in the narratives. Using pronouns such as in “you, the plaintiff,” “you, the defendant,” and asking questions such as “why would you pass a statute allowing these lawsuits?” rather than “why would lawyers/legislators/they pass a statute,” the professor positions students within the legal system, and allows them to cognitively role play with their professional identity. Hypothetical situations as a unit of analysis inform our understanding of law school curriculum, as well as other types of training situations where students must develop the critical thinking skills of the real world within the walls of a classroom.
This article analyzes the construction of leadership identities through stories found in four narrative interviews from a qualitative study and leadership development project based on social constructionism and action learning. We argue that leadership development and the construction of leadership identities in a postmodern paradigm are based on the negotiation and co-construction of meanings, relationships, and stories. The following questions are investigated: What happens when a group of leaders from different organizations construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct their identity as leaders through narrative interviews about their challenges as leaders? In addition, how do these discursive constructions restrict or enable new perspectives, other voices, and the possibilities for learning and change? Our analysis identified traces of both modern and postmodern leadership discourses. We suggest that the concept of coauthoring is useful in developing leadership and leadership identities through reflexive dialogs and emerging stories.