Second Life is the one of strongest currently known type of cultural, collectively negotiated constructions of virtual reality, and despite its old age (12 years), it is still a platform for interactions for a small but consolidated group of residents. In this paper I will make an attempt to discuss how certain Second Life communities remain strong despite the mediums overall decay. I will mainly focus at the relationships of the members of these successful communities with their avatars putting forward two categories: embodiment and engagement. To support my argument I will focus on case-studies of three significant and dynamical and fantasy communities in Second Life: Goreans, Furries and Tinies. As I will try to show, there are several relevant conclusions emerging from the etnographic research conducted for the purpose of this article. First of all, avatars created within such communities also share particular common traits: they possess features that allow for stronger narrative and/or embodied identification. Secondly, „strong” communities usually put a lot of emphasis on managing communication and interaction among their members.
This article is based on an empirical study of employees’ experience of downsizing at a US air carrier called Vimanas Airline (a pseudonym) and includes forty two semi-structured interviews with captains and co-pilots who worked at that airline. The product of a fruitful collaboration between an experienced researcher and former Vimanas co-pilot, the paper explores how a new regime of corporeal power and panoptic organizational discourses produced commercial pilots’ subjectivity by first creating loyal company employees who actively participated in their own acculturation. Later, after airline restructuring, pilots modified their thinking and behaviour in an effort to maintain some sense of power, dignity, agency, and identity, resisting managerial efforts at further colonization. It became clear that complex and partly competing reality construction processes were at play. Contrary to previous research finding employees to often be complicit rather than resistant to managerial control efforts, particularly during times of corporate crisis, this study reports airline employees both participated in, yet later resisted managerial control efforts. Prompted by one of our respondents we refer to this colonization process as ‘bodysnatching’ with reference to the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
This auto-fictitious narrative is an existential and political exploration of scholarly identity transformation of a teacher educator in academia. Set within a parallel, metaphorical kingdom, identity is examined through the author’s actions, interactions and experiences with others in a fictional setting. Narratives, in storytelling formats, establish agency of self and provide “voice” to be freely expressed, most notably for those who experience marginalization where their thoughts and ideas have been mitigated within traditional institutional environments and dialogues. Expressed in a humorous, somewhat deliberately mischievous manner, the polyphonic self in this story reflects on relational power and academic identity within the university environment. This descriptive piece adds discussion to existing organizational research through presentation of a fictional piece for examining how one may self-construct identity within a hegemonic work setting.
Organization and functional differentiation are considered key principles of modern societies. Yet, within organizational studies little research has been conducted on the interplay of function systems, organizations, and society. The few existing studies suppose trends to more functional polyphony. The cases presented in this article, however, support the idea that organizational multifunctionality is the standard case rather than a special case of organization. It is furthermore shown that organizations can change their function system preference and that the translation between function systems can be an organization’s main function. A Google Ngram view on functional differentiation finally furthers the idea that changes of function system preferences are not only a matter of individual organizations, but also a matter of entire societies.
This article contributes to the on-going debate among scholars of organizational identity on collective and polyphonic identity formation processes. The article explores the interplay between individual and organizational storytelling by conceptualizing organizational identity construction processes as a web of storytelling practices, a memory system evoking a sense of coherence and nostalgia among organizational members. By drawing on the results of a narrative and ethnographic case study of a consultancy, the article aims to unfold the web of stories and storytelling practices in a single case organization. The analysis explores how members of this organization, through their everyday storytelling practices, created shared understandings of being members of a fantastic company while simultaneously telling critical counterstories. The analysis shows how organizational members learned to shape not only their stories of success but also their counterstories in ways that made them harmonize with the storytelling traditions of the organization. Furthermore, the concept of personal polyphony is suggested to describe how everyday work stories are antenarrative in the sense that the construction of self, work and the organization is never finished; it is an ongoing process of negotiating and handling many potential and sometimes contradictory storylines simultaneously.
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.
The literature on dirty work has traditionally zoomed in on workplace studies of occupational groups The liturature stigmatized by some parts of society. In this paper the bias is challenged and extended with the aid of Iris Marion Young’s appropriation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s concept of seriality and an empirical study of workers with non-stigmatized occupations in stigmatized work contexts (arms and pornography). The study shows that the workers have to be constantly ready to deal with work-related dirt in their identity work and to do this without any means of support, development of a language or resistance to the transfer of dirt.
While professional identities (like all identities) are largely discursively accomplished, the specific contextualized components which constitute “sounding professional” are often poorly understood, or indeed recognized more often in their absence. This presents an interesting challenge to those tasked with learning these ways of talking in securing a job, for example graduate students in a professionally-oriented MA program in sociolinguistics. This paper considers the linguistic process of presenting a professional identity, with particular focus on the resume as a very carefully constructed storyworld in which every linguistic choice (i.e. referring expression) contributes to positionings that construct and convey identity. Just as with any story, through the choices that we make in highlighting one aspect of a job over another “our identities as social beings emerge as we construct our own individual experiences as a way to position ourselves in relation to social and cultural expectations” (Schiffrin 1996).
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.
This manuscript describes a qualitative evaluation of a particular non-profit organization that helps veterans experiencing homelessness. We propose that individuals experiencing homelessness need to modify their narrative identity (through restorying), and that four resource domains (economic, material, interpersonal and individual) are needed to help individuals experiencing homelessness to re-identify themselves. To this end, the studied nonprofit organization provides a good model for providing individualized services that cover the full range of required resources as well as the opportunity to modify individual narratives.
Organizational and individual identities are well-established research areas. One strand of research argues in favor of applying narrative as a theoretical lens for exploring organizational and individual identity. Rooted in a narrative conceptualization, the purpose of this study is to analyze and discuss how employees at a dairy cooperative simultaneously construct their individual identities and the identity of their organization. Based on bservations of employees’ practices as they narrate the cooperative to an external audience, the different subject positions assigned by employees to themselves and the organization are explored. The exploration sheds light on how the interplay between individual and organizational identities manifests as part of everyday narrative practice. The study thus contributes with insight into the complex nature of identity construction and argues that if the identity construction of individual and organization is to be fully understood, we have to explore them as separate, yet inseparable, entities.