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Constructing Organizational LifeHow Social-Symbolic Work Shapes Selves, Organizations, and Institutions$
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Thomas B. Lawrence and Nelson Phillips

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198840022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2021

Self Work

Self Work

(p.55) 3 Self Work
Constructing Organizational Life

Thomas B. Lawrence

Nelson Phillips

Oxford University Press

Self work represents the purposeful, reflexive efforts of individuals, collective actors, and networks of individual and collective actors to shape their own selves and those of others. This chapter begins by examining the history of the self as a social-symbolic object, and how that history has shaped self work. The availability and meaning of a self as a social-symbolic object has changed dramatically over time, and so the chapter explores the history of the self, focusing on its transformation in modernity, and then its reformulation in postmodernity. It then conceptualizes self work: it begins by exploring its discursive, relational, and material dimensions, and then discusses the kinds actors who might engage in self work.

Keywords:   self, self work, modernity, postmodernity, discourse, relationality, materiality, actors, agency

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