The importance of respect as a discursive resource in making identity claims: insights from the experiences of becoming a circus director

Sandra Corlett, Ron Beadle

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Abstract

Though often invoked in the leadership and identity literatures, respect has been poorly articulated. This paper conceptualizes respect as a discursive resource for making identity claims and provides empirical illustration from circus directors’ accounts of becoming managers. Identity claims draw on particular discursive resources and enact recurrent social practices in “specific local historical circumstances” that cohere with “the local moral order”. To claim and to offer respect based on recognition, appraisal, identification, status and other discourses is to participate in such an order, and to make identity claims which are understood as positioning self and others. We provide “transparently observable” illustrations of respect as a discursive resource for forming, maintaining, strengthening, repairing or revising identity claims. An extreme case purposive sample of circus directors provides an organizational site in which identity dynamics are “highly visible”. Within the local moral order of travelling circuses respect is both desired from and conferred upon those whose artistic merit is recognized in both single acts and whole shows. We show that the distinction between appraisal and status as respect discourses evident in the wide social order breaks down in the case of circus. We theorize from this to the importance of respect as a discursive resource in identity claims and to its dependence upon particular accounts of merit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 6 Jun 2014
Event11th conference on Organizational Discourse - Cardiff
Duration: 6 Jun 2014 → …

Conference

Conference11th conference on Organizational Discourse
Period6/06/14 → …

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