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Professional Identities

Professional Identities: Policy and Practice in Business and Bureaucracy

Shirley Ardener
Fiona Moore
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Professional Identities
    Book Description:

    In both professional and academic fields, there is increasing interest in the way in which white-collar workers engage with institutions and networks which are complex social constructions. Covering a wide variety of countries and types of organization, this volume examines the diverse ways in which individuals' ethnic, gender, corporate and professional identities interact. This book brings together fields often viewed in isolation: ethnographies of groups traditionally studied by anthropologists in new organisational contexts, and examinations of the role of identity in corporate life, opening up new perspectives on central areas of contemporary human activity. It will be of great interest to those concerned with practical management of institutions, as well as those of us who find ourselves working within them.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-886-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Shirley Ardener
  5. Introduction: bridging businesses and bureaucracies
    (pp. 1-26)
    Fiona Moore

    While researchers in the social sciences have studied business and bureaucracy for over a century, comparisons between the two forms of social organisation are still relatively rare, and very few, if any, have explored the relationship between business and bureaucracy. This is particularly problematic in the present era of globalisation, in which business and bureaucracy are transforming and converging as public-sector organisations face privatisation and as private companies take on more and more bureaucratic structures and responsibilities in what is often said to be the era of ‘flexible working’. In this introduction, I will take a brief look at the...

  6. 1 Matters of the heart: the business of English Rugby League
    (pp. 27-46)
    Margaret Groeneveld

    Sport has played a very significant role in the construction and maintenance of Northern British identity. In particular, the professional sport of Rugby League has been associated with a working-class, Northern identity since the late 1800s (cf. Collins 1998, Russell 2004). The sport’s identification with ‘Northernness’ at once transcends and complements national, class and county-based identities. The traditionally intense affiliation people feel for their local Rugby League club unites them along lines of village, county and Northern identity.

    These spheres of affiliation gained emphasis through a century-long conflict with Rugby Union (a different sport commonly known as ‘rugby’), whose participants...

  7. 2 When worlds collide: British bureaucracy meets German bureaucracy in the global financescape
    (pp. 47-64)
    Fiona Moore

    In globalised environments such as financial multinational corporations, recent anthropological theory suggests that identity does not consist of, as earlier studies would have it, the maintenance of symbolic boundaries between groups. Rather, it is a process of selecting from repertoires of symbols to construct a flexible self-image which is changed and altered by actors to fit the social context. However, while this seemed normally to be the case in the London branch of a German bank which I studied, I observed that, when adjusting to a restructuring programme instigated by its Head Office in Frankfurt, the staff switched to a...

  8. 3 Image and reality in an Israeli ‘Absorption Centre’ for Ethiopian immigrants
    (pp. 65-86)
    Esther Herzog

    In this article, I will discuss the continuous negotiations concerning bureaucratic identities, roles and power, between three groups of people interacting in an Israeli Absorption Centre. The first two are theinsiders, who can be divided intostaffandimmigrants, the latter being Ethiopians living in caravans at the Centre. In structural opposition to these two groups are theoutsiders: visitors and bureaucrats who, from time to time, impinge upon the insiders. I describe the efforts and various means in this bureaucratic context which staff employ to give an appearance of formal power in order to achieve recognition of their...

  9. 4 Loyalty and politics: the discourses of liberalisation
    (pp. 87-108)
    Simone Abram

    In this chapter, I examine attempts to introduce a new governing system into a Norwegian municipality and trace the transformations of identities and relationships within the bureaucracy. In Norwegian law, the roles of politicians and bureaucrats are relatively clearly circumscribed, yet this fundamental relationship is a constant theme, particularly for council officers in local government. The division of labour between the political and the administrative is a central problematic in the management of the public sector. The significant differences between the management of public and private organisations congregate around this relationship as the crux of democratic practice.

    Since the 1970s,...

  10. 5 Identities under construction: the case of international education
    (pp. 109-124)
    Hilary Callan

    This chapter has a number of contexts. Descriptively, it relates to international higher education viewed as an emergent field of professional practice; and to those engaged in it. The discussion has affinities with other debates surrounding the ‘anthropology of organisations’, of which Wright (1994) provides an excellent review. It also resonates with studies of ‘transnational communities’, although there are differences. Transnational communities are normally taken to be those displaced by choice or compulsion, at least temporarily, from a ‘home location’, whereas my subjects here are linked by a commitment to transnational educational aims and a set of practices following that...

  11. 6 Portrait of an aid donor: a profile of DFID
    (pp. 125-142)
    Anne Coles

    This paper presents a profile of the Department for International Development (DFID)¹ as one among other bilateral donor agencies. DFID was, and is, a remarkably complex organisation and, in the second part of the 1990s (this paper covers the period from roughly 1993–2000), it experienced an extraordinary dynamic for change.

    This is a personal interpretation that reflects a particular period in ODA/DFID’s history. It may be too ambitious to call it a ‘portrait’; perhaps it is best to call it instead a ‘snapshot’, and, moreover, one which is already dated. I was a staff member of DFID for five...

  12. 7 Identity construction in development practices: the government of Ghana, civil society, private sector and development partners
    (pp. 143-160)
    Lindsay Whitfield

    Since the 1990s, the literature produced by donor agencies and ‘development practitioners’ has tended to schematise governance in aid recipient countries in terms of a partnership between government, the private sector and civil society. Notably, this model conceals the significant influence donors wield in aid recipient countries, especially their influence on other actors and in shaping the domestic political landscape. Development practices employing this model have generated new identities. This chapter looks at the creation and functions of these identities, providing another example of the construction and destruction of boundaries between the public and private sectors. A key theme is...

  13. Notes on contributors
    (pp. 161-162)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 163-168)