The constitution and the singular identity of the collective: who, ‘we’?

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The article claims that it is necessary and relevant to approach singular identity: The ‘who, we?’ question as indexical. For this, it suggests concepts and approaches from social theory outside of the ‘organization’ field. It also presents the kind of analysis this could facilitate through three cases suggested as prototypical of an expanded concept of organization. First, the Narcotics Anonymous is seen to mystify its essential workings with a religious metaphor added to its appearance as a standardized civil society association. Second, a grass-roots-based collective of social youth work is viewed as struggling for recognition through a performative branding hidden behind a radically situated self-conception. Finally, an emerging web-portal collective is modeled as a co-authoring of counselling with art and research that seeks to reflect itself as at once concrete and universal. Through these analyses, it is attempted to cast a new light on the issue of organizational identity, which could not be sufficiently grasped in the dominant functionalist approaches, nor in the systemic, institutionalist, or post-structuralist theories that oppose them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSubjectivity: international journal of critical psychology
Pages (from-to)357-377
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

    Research areas

  • Collective Subjectivity, Organization

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