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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘Why, even with the proliferation of poststructuralist theoretical understandings of identity, do people routinely talk in terms of “real” and “fake” selves?’ (Tracy and Trethewey, 2005: 168). This chapter examines the deeply rooted assumption and sedimented way of talking about selves as essentialized, authentic, and real. Such viewpoints, along with the tendency to pit ‘real selves’ against ‘fake selves’ are often promulgated even in social constructionist, poststructuralist, and critical work, leading to a number of unintended and problematic consequences. The authors review research related to real and fake selves, and expand upon how Tracy and Trethewey’s (2005) metaphor of the ‘crystallized self’ has extended and opened up additional research that explores: (1) the discursive struggles of resistance and self-disciplining in relation to the preferred self; (2) the difficulty of viewing multiple facets of identity as valuable rather than contradictory; (3) the gendered work involved in boundary-spanning; (4) critical intersectionality; and (5) qualitative research. The authors close the chapter by discussing how the new materialism in organizational studies might extend and inspire future research in terms of crystallized identities and organizations.

Keywords: crystallized self, authenticity, self-subordination, resistance, self-disciplining, materiality

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