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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 9 We concur that the dichotomy glosses the importance of communication and discourse in constructing identity. Moreover, we argue that the dichotomy, itself, serves as an organizational discourse that produces certain understandings about the meanings of work, the centrality of organizations in contemporary life, and of the very self. In other words, the dichotomy not only blots out the power of everyday discourse in shaping identity, the dichotomy is a discourse that constructs identity. Now we might expect the perpetuation of the real self-fake self dichotomy in essentialist feminist (e.g., Hochschild) research. But what if we turn to postmodern or post-structuralist theorizing? As alluded to in our paper’s opening, this approach has argued for viewing identity as fractured and overdetermined through continual and varying organizational and societal discourses (Foucault, 1980b; Hall, 1985; Holmer-Nadesan, 1996; Mumby, 1997a, 1997b). Nevertheless, even in the face of such a philosophy, self-described “feminist-poststructuralists” Mumby and Putnam (1992) suggest that emotion a better form prior to organizational life, contending that “engaging in emotional labor strips away the individual experience, the relational context, and the intimacy that typifies expression of personal feelings” (p. 472). Indeed Mumby and Putnam have been critiqued for conceptualizing self-identity in integrated terms, “assuming that a person has a single self that, transcending context, can be known” (Martin, Knopoff, & Beckman, 1998, p. 437). Getting “Real” One reason that it may be difficult to escape this prevailing understanding of the self may be found in analyzing how the real self-fake self split is continually reconstructed and normalized through pervasive discourses of power—discourses that are located in and sutured by organizing processes. Organizational discourses do more than construct organizational identities; they fundamentally articulate a “preferred” or “ideal” core self, and in doing so, perhaps (not?) incidentally, produce outcomes that benefit the organization. Before we discuss those benefits, we

Authors: Tracy, Sarah. and Trethewey, Angela.
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Real-SelfÅÆFake-Self Dichotomy
9
We concur that the dichotomy glosses the importance of communication and discourse in
constructing identity. Moreover, we argue that the dichotomy, itself, serves as an organizational
discourse that produces certain understandings about the meanings of work, the centrality of
organizations in contemporary life, and of the very self. In other words, the dichotomy not only
blots out the power of everyday discourse in shaping identity, the dichotomy is a discourse that
constructs identity.
Now we might expect the perpetuation of the real self-fake self dichotomy in essentialist
feminist (e.g., Hochschild) research. But what if we turn to postmodern or post-structuralist
theorizing? As alluded to in our paper’s opening, this approach has argued for viewing identity as
fractured and overdetermined through continual and varying organizational and societal
discourses (Foucault, 1980b; Hall, 1985; Holmer-Nadesan, 1996; Mumby, 1997a, 1997b).
Nevertheless, even in the face of such a philosophy, self-described “feminist-poststructuralists”
Mumby and Putnam (1992) suggest that emotion a better form prior to organizational life,
contending that “engaging in emotional labor strips away the individual experience, the relational
context, and the intimacy that typifies expression of personal feelings” (p. 472). Indeed Mumby
and Putnam have been critiqued for conceptualizing self-identity in integrated terms, “assuming
that a person has a single self that, transcending context, can be known” (Martin, Knopoff, &
Beckman, 1998, p. 437).
Getting “Real”
One reason that it may be difficult to escape this prevailing understanding of the self may
be found in analyzing how the real self-fake self split is continually reconstructed and normalized
through pervasive discourses of power—discourses that are located in and sutured by organizing
processes. Organizational discourses do more than construct organizational identities; they
fundamentally articulate a “preferred” or “ideal” core self, and in doing so, perhaps (not?)
incidentally, produce outcomes that benefit the organization. Before we discuss those benefits, we


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