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"Who am I?": Identity, Self and Narrative within Organizational Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  “Who am I?”- 3 PIN jc19265 Self and Identity Within Social Science To begin our conversation regarding self and identity within social science, it will be useful to situate ourselves within a constitutive view of communication, in which communication is understood as constituting or creating, not merely representing, social experience (Mokros, 1996; Mokros & Deetz, 1996; Mokros, Mullins, & Saracevic, 1995). This perspective is a shift away from an informational model of communication where individuals and events are supposed to exist prior to communication; in the constitutive view, communication is conceptualized as a tool used for the transmission of information and for describing an “objective” reality (Mokros, 1996; Mokros & Deetz, 1996). In addition, the constitutive view of communication argues that multiple perspectives exist, which reflect our situatedness within historical and temporal contexts. Because certain perspectives are privileged over others, the constitutive view holds that these perspectives become objectified as “the way things are” and remain largely unquestioned. Theorizing and explaining phenomena through a constitutive perspective suggests that communication provides an interactive space for individuals to actively engage with and reflect on their experiences within a social world, which other social science disciplines have largely neglected. As Cockett (2000) suggests, “…a constitutive perspective allows us to move from thinking about things as static and representational to thinking about things as relational, dynamic and under constant construction through reflection and adaptation within the objective world” (p. 7). Conceptualizing the self as relational and fluid marks a significant change in how the self has been theorized and studied and, as Mokros notes (1996), marks a shift away from understanding self through developmental processes (e.g., Erikson, 1980) and individualized behavior – “a self that senses, thinks, feels, and directs action” (Gergen, 1999, p. 122). To

Authors: Cattafesta, Joanne.
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“Who am I?”- 3
PIN jc19265
Self and Identity Within Social Science
To begin our conversation regarding self and identity within social science, it will be
useful to situate ourselves within a constitutive view of communication, in which communication
is understood as constituting or creating, not merely representing, social experience (Mokros,
1996; Mokros & Deetz, 1996; Mokros, Mullins, & Saracevic, 1995). This perspective is a shift
away from an informational model of communication where individuals and events are supposed
to exist prior to communication; in the constitutive view, communication is conceptualized as a
tool used for the transmission of information and for describing an “objective” reality (Mokros,
1996; Mokros & Deetz, 1996). In addition, the constitutive view of communication argues that
multiple perspectives exist, which reflect our situatedness within historical and temporal
contexts. Because certain perspectives are privileged over others, the constitutive view holds
that these perspectives become objectified as “the way things are” and remain largely
unquestioned. Theorizing and explaining phenomena through a constitutive perspective suggests
that communication provides an interactive space for individuals to actively engage with and
reflect on their experiences within a social world, which other social science disciplines have
largely neglected. As Cockett (2000) suggests, “…a constitutive perspective allows us to move
from thinking about things as static and representational to thinking about things as relational,
dynamic and under constant construction through reflection and adaptation within the objective
world” (p. 7).
Conceptualizing the self as relational and fluid marks a significant change in how the self
has been theorized and studied and, as Mokros notes (1996), marks a shift away from
understanding self through developmental processes (e.g., Erikson, 1980) and individualized
behavior – “a self that senses, thinks, feels, and directs action” (Gergen, 1999, p. 122). To


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