Management Seminars: Nancy Harding (University of Bath) and Sarah Gilmore (University of Exeter)

20 March 2018, 2.30 PM - 20 March 2018, 4.00 PM

Nancy Harding (University of Bath) and Sarah Gilmore (University of Exeter)

1.01 Howard House

Title: ‘You’re one of us now’: Socialisation, kinship & the uncanny


More than 40 years after van Maanen and Schein’s (1977) landmark paper, socialisation theory remains pertinent to contemporary approaches to understanding how people enter organisations as ‘strangers’ but over time become ‘insiders’. There is an absence of a  contemporary theory of socialization that would explore how self and organization become co-constituted over time. The paper therefore develops a poststructural theory of socialization. It explores the (largely unconscious) work one does as one moves from being a ‘new-comer’ to an established ‘insider’. It draws on field notes from an ethnographic study carried out by Author One during her fieldwork of an English Premier League football club. The memory-work (Kuhn, 2005) that brings to light the constitutive movement from stranger to insider suggests that socialisation requires practices of what we term ‘kin-work’, or making kin. To understand this process, we draw on two strands of theory. The first draws on contemporary ideas contesting and reframing the concept of kinship so that kinship is regarded as an accomplishment rather than a given (e.g. Garsten, 2004; Goodfellow, 2015; Nelson, 2015). The second refers to Freud’s ideas of ‘deferred action’ or nachtraglichkeit (Freud, 1895) concerning the ways by which we revise past experiences at a later date with this revision investing them with significance or even pathogenic force (Laplanche & Pontalis, 1974). However, Freud (1919) warns that even as one begins to feel at home there is always something that remains uncanny: the homely contains its unhomely opposite within its tendrils.  That is, one can never feel truly at home in an organization, thus leading to a certain ambivalence about socialisation: if it is successful one begins to feel at home in a place where one can never be at home.

Contact information

Nancy Harding - Personal website

Sarah Gilmore - Personal website

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