Industrial Schools and identification: Revisiting the total institution
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Kenny, K. (2011) Industrial Schools and identification: Revisiting the total institution Identities and Critical Management Studies stream at the 7th International Critical Management Studies Conference, Naples, Italy
In this paper, I revisit a forgotten empirical site, Ireland's industrial schools. Thousands of children lived and worked in these organizations from an early age until adulthood. They were hidden from mainstream Irish society, and their complaints about systematic physical and sexual abuse were continuously ignored. Recently, some survivor accounts have emerged. Exploring these, I draw on a concept that is no longer in fashion among organization scholars: Erving Goffman's notion of the total institution. Specifically, I examine his ideas on selfhood within such institutions. Building on these, and in light of evidence from Ireland's industrial schools, I consider emerging work within organization studies that engages with poststructural psychoanalysis to understand selfhood, affect and subjectivity. In this way, this paper proposes to explore new avenues for researching an under-studied aspect of organizational life.