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New Delhi

By Janette Webb


The article examines the inter-relations between self-identity and organizational change in advanced capitalist societies characterized by deregulation of markets,privatization and globalizing economic relations. It compares two contrasting perspectives on selfhood: the reflexive self (Giddens, 1991) and the corroded self (Sennett, 1998). Giddens suggests that contemporary organizations, rather than eroding meaning, offer a greater degree of choice about self-identity, and enhance reflexivity and agency. Sennett suggests that new economic forms are corrosive of character and social relations. Using examples from predominantly British data, it is argued that both accounts offer relevant insights into the interplay between selfhood and organizations, but that each overstates their case. Giddens offers a persuasive account of the choice and voluntarism characterizing self-identity for at least a proportion of the population. His account of the ‘project of the self’, however, contributes to an ideology of the flexible, commodified self, and an overly inflated sense of the potential for individualized self-growth. Sennett over-emphasizes the exten

Year: 2011
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