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Purpose – In this chapter I engage with central debates in sociology regarding ways of thinking about identity, belonging and diversity. The purpose is to provide a…
Purpose – In this chapter I engage with central debates in sociology regarding ways of thinking about identity, belonging and diversity. The purpose is to provide a critical engagement with the problems involved, at both a conceptual and political level and to suggest ways forward.
Approach – I critically examine and compare the notions of belonging and identity, both as conceptual tools and how they are embedded in political discourses, particularly on issues of diversity. I also examine diversity and superdiversity and propose a translocational lens as a useful means for rethinking the issues involved, both conceptually and politically.
Findings – Belonging and identity can be seen as part of the same ‘family’ of concepts, and while both are used politically in similar ways, belonging enables a greater engagement with place and location and the structural and contextual facets of social life. Notions of diversity and superdiversity are highly normative, and an intersectional and translocational analysis is proposed.
Social Implications – It is suggested that dominant notions of belonging, identity and diversity essentialize and perpetuate social boundaries of otherness and that those policies that use such notions, particularly integration policies, fail to address issues of participation, access and parity, which are necessary for the development of an inclusionary society.
Originality – The chapter engages critically with important issues of theory and practice and contributes to the development of theoretical tools for understanding central issues of social and political debate. It develops a ‘translocational’ lens for understanding social divisions in society.
The idea of ‘identity politics’ has become quite prominent in news commentary. It has been referred to in explaining the 2016 US Presidential election result, the 2016 Brexit vote and a variety of other events in contemporary social life. The idea emerged under that title in the late twentieth century, and refers to political conflicts where groups unite and act on the basis of some shared identity. While the term initially referred to action by groups seeking to remedy past oppression, ‘identity politics’ may now refer to a wider range of cases where there is contestation based on recognition of some shared identity. Individuals’ identity is central to resurgent modern virtue ethics, but it has been suggested that virtue ethics is less relevant to political conflict than utilitarian views or theories of justice. However, an important distinction can be made between narrative identity, on the one hand, and social identity that emerges from individuals’ self-perceived group membership, on the other hand. It is narrative identity that figures in major accounts of virtue ethics. In many situations, narrative identity is importantly affected by group identity, but it is still only narrative identity that has intrinsic ethical weight. This suggests that virtue ethics has relevance to identity politics just because it urges attention to individuals’ narrative identity rather than to group identity.
Social movement scholarship points to the significance of collective identity in social movement emergence. This chapter examines the relationship between structural…
Social movement scholarship points to the significance of collective identity in social movement emergence. This chapter examines the relationship between structural identities, such as race, gender, and sexuality, and the collective identity of student activist conferences in order to analyze how groups succeed or fail at engaging difference. Utilizing ethnographic participant observation at two student activist conferences – one of majority Black students and the other of majority white male students – this chapter employs an intersectional framework in analyzing the resonance of organizational collective action frames. This chapter finds that cultural resonance, frame centrality, and experiential commensurability are all important factors in engaging difference, and that the utilization of political intersectionality in framing may shape frame resonance. This framework that applies intersectionality to framing contributes to social movement analysis by recognizing how structural identities shape collective identity and group mobilization.
Persistent change has placed considerable pressure on organizations to keep up or fade into obscurity. Firms that remain viable, or even thrive, are staffed with…
Persistent change has placed considerable pressure on organizations to keep up or fade into obscurity. Firms that remain viable, or even thrive, are staffed with decision-makers who capably steer organizations toward opportunities and away from threats. Accordingly, leadership development has never been more critical. In this chapter, the authors propose that leader development is an inherently dyadic process initiated to communicate formal and informal expectations. The authors focus on the informal component, in the form of organizational politics, as an element of leadership that is critical to employee and company success. The authors advocate that superiors represent the most salient information source for leader development, especially as it relates to political dynamics embedded in work systems. The authors discuss research associated with our conceptualization of dyadic political leader development (DPLD). Specifically, the authors develop DPLD by exploring its conceptual underpinnings as they relate to sensemaking, identity, and social learning theories. Once established, the authors provide a refined discussion of the construct, illustrating its scholarly mechanisms that better explain leader development processes and outcomes. The authors then expand research in the areas of political skill, political will, political knowledge, and political phronesis by embedding our conceptualization of DPLD into a political leadership model. The authors conclude by discussing methodological issues and avenues of future research stemming from the development of DPLD.
- Civil war
- Dysfunctional politics
- ELF index (index of ethno-linguistic fractionalization)
- Ethnic diversity
- Ethnic dominance
- Ethnic hatreds
- Fragmented societies
- Multiethnic societies
- Nation building
- OECD countries
- Victimization of minorities
Now well into the 21st century, the world’s most powerful organizations’ highest executive levels and boards of directors still fail to represent a diverse collection of people shaped by unique social identity dimensions according to age, class, culture, ethnicity, faith/spirituality, gender, physical/psychological ability, sexual orientation, and more. Offered in this book is an investigation into why a homophily framework, or a similarity-attraction hypothesis, continues to perpetuate leadership by predominantly Caucasian/White males and reinforces barriers that keep qualified people possessing a multiplicity of social identity dimensions from achieving their full human potential.
To understand interactive processes through which discrimination is reproduced in the workplace, social identity theorists explore connections between ways that people create social identity and that organizations become socially constructed. Social identity theory explains how people seek to develop oneness with groups that help them to develop and/or to enhance positive self-esteem – and to better understand how people develop notions of high-status ingroups and low-status outgroups. Both of these frameworks are central to this book’s attention to difference in organizations. Difference is positioned as a positive advance in organizational dynamics; advocating respect and appreciation for multiple and intersecting social identities – not for profitability and other business case reasons – but because it is morally justified to eradicate inequitable and exclusionary practices in organizations. This book offers an introduction to doing difference research by introducing a number of theoretical underpinnings, addressing methodological challenges, and presenting a wide cross-section of numerous bodies of literature which have been attending to difference work. Chapter 1 is divided into subthemes of: applying social identity theory, emphasizing the “center” and the “margin,” managing organizational climate, and avoiding business case thinking and other flawed models by advocating for real diversity.
Research projects designed to examine social identity difference in organizations are driven by a passion to affect positive change that ultimately leads to a more just…
Research projects designed to examine social identity difference in organizations are driven by a passion to affect positive change that ultimately leads to a more just society rather than one which enables status quo power perpetuation and continues to marginalize certain people and inhibit them from achieving personal and career goals. This important change requires the support of all people and not just those who use a simplistically essentialist dyad because they feel a personal connection or because such avenues of inquiry are considered off limits when a researcher or a manager does not “match” members of specific minority groups. Polyvocality is necessary to exorcise -isms in the workplace and larger global communities, so this important work is everyone’s responsibility.
In Chapter 2, difference is operationalized and it is acknowledged that recognizing power differentials between ourselves as researcher and our respondents or participants as researched is a starting point in any important journey when exploring social identity difference. Researching across social identity difference is examined, the simplistically essentialist dyad or racial-matching paradigm is critiqued, and the partial perspective and lived experience orientations are advanced. Useful guidance and methodological techniques also are offered for self-reflexive moves when considering research paradigms, theoretical underpinnings, data collection procedures, data interpretation and analysis steps, and dissemination of findings – as well as discussion about ways that institutionalized power can intervene in potentially risky ways for researchers of social identity and difference.
This book represents an integration of numerous theory streams and approaches so that researchers of social identity difference will have at least one go-to source for engaging with potential analytical, ethical, and methodological challenges. Chapter 2 is divided into these central subthemes: what is social identity difference?, power issues among researchers and the researched, techniques for doing social identity difference research, and researching across social identity difference and the matching paradigm.