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Conversational Identity Work in Everyday Interaction

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sandra Corlett



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Science Direct, 2012.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Increasing numbers of studies are identifying ‘identity work’ in research participants’ efforts to establish, maintain, deny or change the identity positions being ascribed to self and other. However, as authors variously emphasize how far identity is negotiated between people, on the one hand, and how far it is determined by prevailing discourses and local ideational notions of who people are, on the other, we are arguably no closer to understanding how identity work gets done in everyday organizational talk. To address this issue we present a conceptualisation of identity work that contrasts these two aspects. Through an analysis of talk in a mundane, everyday, meeting we identify and illustrate five prevalent identity work forms. Taken together, these forms and the conceptualisation represent an important first-step toward developing a more nuanced understanding of the different ways in which people’s identities are engaged in, reproduced through, and altered by their participation in their everyday routine organizing practices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McInnes P, Corlett S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Management

Year: 2012

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 27-38

Print publication date: 28/01/2012

Online publication date: 20/01/2012

Date deposited: 25/06/2018

Publisher: Science Direct


DOI: 10.1016/j.scarman.2011.12.004


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