I don't even know who I am anymore and frankly, neither do you: the role of the media in the collapse and reconfiguration of identities

Izak, Michal and Koronis, Epaminondas (2013) I don't even know who I am anymore and frankly, neither do you: the role of the media in the collapse and reconfiguration of identities. In: European Group for Organizational Studies, 2013 (EGOS), Montreal, Canada., 3 - 6 July 2013, Montreal, Canada.

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Abstract

Rich literature on organizational and individual identities construction assumes that
identities are relatively stable and longstanding in time (e.g. Albert & Whetten, 1991).
However, such assumptions presume a certain degree of stability in organizational
settings while allocating power to the role of organizational identities in the formation
of individual ones. In this paper, we focus on the problems of collapsing identities and
aim at exploring how people respond to large-scale crises and organizational failures.
By conducting qualitative research across middle managers in a troubled sector and
within a troubled economy, we explore individuals’ responses to the collapse of
organizational and personal work identities and by using concepts from Lacan,
Bourdieu and Ricoeur we conceptualize the problem of identities’ reconfiguration,
also bringing forward the role of mediated communication.
Our analysis highlights three important issues. First, the importance of a ‘mirroring’
process as managers constantly attempt to retrieve particles of a new identity from
pre-existing identities (family, sports, friend) and in the process of doing so they seek
for validation and confirmation. Our analysis suggests that in the crisis and identity
collapsing period, pre-existing hidden identities that have been silenced enter the
arena of identity formation. Moreover, they are employed to construct new ones,
such as the immigrant or ‘insider’. Second, we bring forward the dominant role of
mechanisms of information mediation and their critical role in building ideological
frameworks, framing the crisis, legitimizing certain identities and producing a
projection of fragments of ‘other’ possible identities. We propose that Individuals
engage with the mass media in an attempt to place a mirror between a chaotic
present and the uncertain future – the process which we approach as ‘the construction of projected image’. Third, we explore a narrative and self-biographical
approach to this identity reconfiguration process as individuals subscribe to a
narrative of the self ‘in medias res’. They talk about the past and they design the
future, thus building their association with different groups, organizations and the
society. Our discussion moves around the notion of ‘failing identities’ and we draw on
Lacan’s ideas of lack, Bourdieu’s argument on biographical illusions and Ricoeur’s
understanding of identities as temporary narrative constructions. This paper argues
that identity collapses stand both as a conceptual and practical problem to be
analysed but also as an opportunity to explore the identity formation processes in
organizations.

Additional Information:European Group for Organizational Studies, (EGOS), Montreal, Canada
Keywords:psychoanalysis, identity collapse, Greek banking crisis, Lacan, bmjquery
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N990 Business and Administrative studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:11346
Deposited On:28 Jul 2013 19:16

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