Problematic professional identity construction: A theoretical explanation

Fiona Douglas

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Using a critical management studies perspective, this chapter seeks to broaden theoretical understanding of occupational identity construction by exploring Butler's theorisation of performativity (Butler, 1988; 1997a; 1997b & 2005) withina management studies context. This theorising is applied to research conducted between 2009 and 2010 with career development practitioners in New Zealand, which found their professional identity construction was both fragile and impairedby unhappy interpellative experiences. By focusing on the research finding of obfuscation of performative opportunities, and exploring how the theory ofperformativity can explain this phenomenon, I posit that this reveals a loophole in Butler's theorisation of performativity that requires further examination through the concept of self-censorship. The chapter concludes by proposing this self-censorshipserves to protect a dearly held professional identity from harmful external influences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourse, power, and resistance down under
EditorsMark Vicars, Tarquam McKenna
Place of PublicationRotterdam
PublisherSense Publishers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789462095090
ISBN (Print)9789462095076, 9789462095083
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameTransgressions: cultural studies and education

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