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Fracturing the Real-Self<-->Fake-Self Dichotomy: Moving Toward “Crystallized” Organizational Discourses and Identities
Unformatted Document Text:  Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy 20 efforts may not only help lay bare the ways that identity is constructed through societal discourses, organizational processes and everyday talk, but may also begin to explicitly politicize identity negotiation at work. Furthermore, and perhaps more radically, we suggest that communication scholars are uniquely poised to encourage people to consider the political and fractured character of the self by suggesting everyday linguistic alternatives to those currently utilized in the popular imagination. Language does not mirror reality; it constructs our worlds and our selves (Kay & Kempton, 1984). People understand their lives through the language available to them, and as Catherine Aschraft (2000) so keenly observes, “The words we have are not always the words we need” (p. 3). Language is political, construed in ways that perpetuate and normalize structures of domination (Kramarae, 1981; Spender, 1985). Indeed, we have demonstrated in this paper that the real self-fake self dichotomy has specific productive capabilities, constructing and maintaining conceptualizations of identity that serve and reinforce managerialist ideals. As critical scholars, we suggest that one way of disrupting the real self-fake self dichotomy is through modifying and adding linguistic alternatives for understanding the self. We propose the metaphor of the “crystallized self,” a positively-valenced term, as a means of both speaking about, understanding, and indeed experiencing the self in more appropriately politicized and layered ways (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Richardson (2000) poetically suggests that the imagery of the crystal: combines symmetry and substance with an infinite variety of shapes, substances, transmutations, multidimensionalities, and angles of approach. Crystals grow, change, alter, but are not amorphous. Crystals are prisms that reflect externalities and refract within themselves, creating different colors, patterns, and arrays, casting off in different directions. What we see depends upon our angle of repose (p. 934). The crystallized self is neither real nor fake. It is not flattened (du Gay, 1996), suffocated (Tracy, 2000) or colonized (Deetz, 1992) through a unifying managerialist discourse. The crystallized self

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
20
efforts may not only help lay bare the ways that identity is constructed through societal
discourses, organizational processes and everyday talk, but may also begin to explicitly politicize
identity negotiation at work.
Furthermore, and perhaps more radically, we suggest that communication scholars are
uniquely poised to encourage people to consider the political and fractured character of the self
by suggesting everyday linguistic alternatives to those currently utilized in the popular
imagination. Language does not mirror reality; it constructs our worlds and our selves (Kay &
Kempton, 1984). People understand their lives through the language available to them, and as
Catherine Aschraft (2000) so keenly observes, “The words we have are not always the words we
need” (p. 3). Language is political, construed in ways that perpetuate and normalize structures of
domination (Kramarae, 1981; Spender, 1985). Indeed, we have demonstrated in this paper that
the real self-fake self dichotomy has specific productive capabilities, constructing and
maintaining conceptualizations of identity that serve and reinforce managerialist ideals. As
critical scholars, we suggest that one way of disrupting the real self-fake self dichotomy is
through modifying and adding linguistic alternatives for understanding the self.
We propose the metaphor of the “crystallized self,” a positively-valenced term, as a
means of both speaking about, understanding, and indeed experiencing the self in more
appropriately politicized and layered ways (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Richardson (2000)
poetically suggests that the imagery of the crystal:
combines symmetry and substance with an infinite variety of shapes, substances,
transmutations, multidimensionalities, and angles of approach. Crystals grow, change,
alter, but are not amorphous. Crystals are prisms that reflect externalities and refract
within themselves, creating different colors, patterns, and arrays, casting off in different
directions. What we see depends upon our angle of repose (p. 934).
The crystallized self is neither real nor fake. It is not flattened (du Gay, 1996), suffocated (Tracy,
2000) or colonized (Deetz, 1992) through a unifying managerialist discourse. The crystallized self


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