Power, Subjectivity and Strategies of Resistance: The Case of the Acme School

Mohammad Manki

Abstract


The central aim of this study is to provide a critical analysis of oppositional practices in the workplace by exploring the role of worker subjectivity in shaping and articulating contemporary strategies of resistance. First, a theoretical analysis will be presented which seeks to challenge many of the dualistic assumptions that have underpinned traditional studies of resistance. It is argued that the re-entry of subjectivity into the analysis of resistance provides a means for escaping these dualisms and retrieving the analytical and empirical significance of oppositional practices. The argument suggests that although subjectivities are indeed effects of power, and that individuals are positioned in relation to dominant discourses - and therefore constituted as having certain interests - power is not fixed and thus cannot completely or permanently determine identity. This instability of power makes apparent certain fragilities within these dominant discourses and makes them liable to threats and seductions from subject positions within different or competing discourses, it is suggested that these fractures and competing subject positions afford small but important spaces for resistance. The second half of this essay presents a detailed case study of the Acme School. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed to explore the subjective experiences of resistant members of Acme toward recent government reform initiatives. Two dominant strategies were identified: 'resistance through distance' and 'resistance through persistence' and it was demonstrated that an understanding of different subjectivities is vital to appreciating how these distinct strategies emerged. 

Keywords


CASE studies ;EMPLOYEES -- Attitudes ;WORK environment ;ORGANIZATIONAL sociology ;SUBJECTIVITY ;RESISTANCE (Psychoanalysis)

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