Beyond ourselves: Passion and the dark side of identification in an ethical organization
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Kenny, K. M. (2010). Beyond ourselves: Passion and the dark side of identification in an ethical organization. Human Relations, 63(6), 857–873. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726709345042
How are organizational discourses enacted by people at work? In this article, instead of treating subjects as somewhat distinct from such discourses, I argue that the two are inescapably intertwined. The concept of 'ek-stasis' helps us to understand this. Ekstasis invokes an idea of the 'self' that, through processes of identification, is always located outside of itself, embedded in a wider sociality. I explore this dynamic through an in-depth study of the powerful discourse of 'ethical living', and its enactment in one contemporary development sector organization, EWH. This ek-static enactment was somewhat ambivalent: involving mutual recognition between colleagues, but also processes of exclusion and policing. I highlight how attention to feeling and passion was important in understanding the relation between workplace discourse and identification processes, in this setting. This study shows that a view of workplace selves as ek-static is useful for understanding the enactment of discourse at work, and that this enactment can be both passionate and ambivalent.