This thesis returns to the individual that some postmodernists would leave behind, but not in the manner of individualising psychology. The individual in this thesis is a social individual, the self a social self. Self-hood is, as Mead (1934) and many others have recognised, a social creation, and the social self is imbued with agency in the act of positioning itself amongst others. But the individual is also positioned – within a social context or field of experience, within discursive practices, within social structures, within social institutions. Yet all is fluid – the self, the structures, the discourses, the institutions - and all are mutually conditioning. This thesis, then, makes a contribution to examining how individuals position themselves within particular sets of institutional and structural contexts, how they construct and re-construct themselves thereby and how they begin to construct and re-construct social identities, structures, institutions and discourses. It concentrates largely on ‘stress’ and ‘managerialism’, as aspects of emerging self-hoods, and reveals complexity and fluidity. Thus ‘stress’ is shown to position us as victims but it can also be used as a reason for resistance. The experience of ‘stress’ would seem to differ according to the institutional context in which we are positioned but it also constitutes a resource and a motive in the micropolitics of resistance to existing structures, institutions and discursive practices. Similarly managerialism may serve to position us as managers or as managerial subjects but individuals can embrace different kinds of managerialism, or resist managerialism altogether, and this has consequences for the nature of the organisations we inhabit and for the sort of people we, as individuals at work, become. Yet the examination of individuals, selves, institutions, discursive practices and social structure in this thesis is itself just one moment in a social process. This thesis is a self-reflexive act of positioning by a social individual who seeks to turn as well as return. A step in a dance - and by no means the last step - for this social individual.
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2003. , 34 p.