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Challenging and destabilizing official discourses: irony as a resistance resource in institutional talk
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education, Teaching and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7877-4669
2019 (English)In: Culture and Organization, ISSN 1475-9551, E-ISSN 1477-2760Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The article examines Swedish police students’ and officers’ situational use of irony as a resource for engaging in workplace resistance. Through irony, managerial discourses and policies are destabilized, giving voice to an alternative reality. The resistance towards the police’s official discourses reinforces a gap between the management and officers in the ranks, strengthening in-group autonomy and norms among the rank and file, but also disrupting organizational control. Irony was restricted to, but also opened up for, ‘safe spaces’, suggesting that counter-hegemonic discourses among police employees are constrained by contextual factors such as their socio-political environment and organizational culture. Irony also helped to promote social harmony and sustain ‘conflict- free venues and encounters’, and the double nature of irony should be seen as a powerful resource for expressing criticism while avoiding sanctions. The article suggests that ironically expressed resistance towards institutional conditions is enabled and created by the very same conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Irony, humour, police culture, criticism, resistance
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162584DOI: 10.1080/14759551.2019.1699093ISI: 000501386700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162584DiVA, id: diva2:1376344
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-0011
Note

Funding agencies: Forskningsradet om Halsa, Arbetsliv och Valfard [2009-0011]; Swedish Police

Available from: 2019-12-09 Created: 2019-12-09 Last updated: 2020-01-22Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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