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Organizing for individuation: alternative organizing, politics and new identities

Reedy, Patrick; King, Daniel; Coupland, Christine


Patrick Reedy

Daniel King

Christine Coupland


Organization theorists have predominantly studied identity and organizing within the managed work organization. This frames organization as a structure within which identity work occurs, often as a means of managerial control. In our paper our contribution is to develop the concept of individuation pursued through prefigurative practices within alternative organizing to reframe this relation. We combine recent scholarship on alternative organizations and new social movements to provide a theoretical grounding for an ethnographic study of the prefigurative organizing practices and related identity work of an alternative group in a UK city. We argue that in such groups, identity, organizing and politics become a purposeful set of integrated processes aimed at the creation of new forms of life in the here and now, thus organizing is politics is identity. Our study presents a number of challenges and possibilities to scholars of organization, enabling them to extend their understanding of organization and identity in the contemporary world.


Reedy, P., King, D., & Coupland, C. (2016). Organizing for individuation: alternative organizing, politics and new identities. Organization Studies, 37(11), 1553-1573.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2016
Online Publication Date May 13, 2016
Publication Date Nov 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 16, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Organization studies
Print ISSN 0170-8406
Electronic ISSN 1741-3044
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 11
Pages 1553-1573
Keywords Alternative organizations; Critical management studies; Critical theories; Ethnography; Identity; Social movement theories
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article which has been published in: Organization studies, 2016, v.37, issue 11.


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