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    Stop 'helping' me! Identity, recognition and agency in the nexus of work and care

    Tomkins, L. and Eatough, Virginia (2014) Stop 'helping' me! Identity, recognition and agency in the nexus of work and care. Organization 21 (1), pp. 3-21. ISSN 1350-5084.

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    This article explores what it is like to be a ‘working carer’—that increasingly common category of employee who combines paid work with unpaid care.1 We draw on phenomenology for our initial motivation, epistemological assumptions and method of data analysis, and on critical sensemaking as a template for interpretation and theorization. In line with critical sensemaking, we see identity as a central feature of personhood, and we examine our participants’ identity work through the specific refractions of plausibility, context and agency. These highlight the inconsistencies and oscillations of identity work, and the ways in which it is influenced by competing discourses of the right kind of employee and the right kind of woman. We foreground the existential aspects of sensemaking, as participants struggle to come to terms with the impact of care on their own life-projects and search for meaning. This reflects our belief that experiential approaches to work-related issues have a vital part to play in a ‘turn to meaning’ in critical organizational research. Key implications for practitioners and campaigners are discussed, and policy makers urged to address the issue of working carer identification, recognition and support with greater sensitivity to the label’s psychological and existential implications.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): agency, critical sensemaking, experience, identity, phenomenology, working carer
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 01 May 2013 08:05
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 15:27


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