IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/hal-01123563.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Working and resisting when one's workplace is under threat of being shut down: A Lacanian perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Bénédicte Vidaillet

    () (IRG - Institut de Recherche en Gestion - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12)

  • Grégory Gamot

    (LEM - Lille - Economie et Management - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - Université de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

The case presented here shows how a set of Lacanian concepts can be useful for analysing the behaviour of the employees' representatives in a factory belonging to a large globalized and financialised corporation and threatened with closure. We identify a central characteristic of this organization (the obliteration of symbolic authority) to identify the psychic processes the employees' representatives go through as a result of this characteristic and the impact in terms of their difficulties in exerting resistance. We rest our analysis on the distinction Lacan makes between utterance and enunciation and make use of the concepts of master signifier, symbolic authority, fantasy and superego. We show that in this case the absence of symbolic authority leads the staff representatives to be taken over by the fantasy of a tyrannical and unbarred Other that has the absolute power to close down the factory at any time, and to feel guilty that they never do enough, a typical sense of guilt resulting from the superego's unfulfillable demands. This theory is also relevant for understanding the paradoxes of resistance: the staff representatives will need to reintroduce a symbolic authority so as to be able to start resisting and no longer be overwhelmed by the fantasy of an unbarred Other. We emphasize the benefits of using a Lacanian approach for understanding how discursive, psychic and emotional processes are joined in the power relations characteristic of a global capitalist corporation, and reflect on the structural conditions in which resistance is possible in contemporary organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Bénédicte Vidaillet & Grégory Gamot, 2015. "Working and resisting when one's workplace is under threat of being shut down: A Lacanian perspective," Post-Print hal-01123563, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01123563
    DOI: 10.1177/0170840615580013
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-upec-upem.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01123563
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://hal-upec-upem.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01123563/document
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David L. Collinson, 2002. "Managing Humour," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 269-288, May.
    2. Mahmoud Ezzamel, 2001. "Power, Control and Resistance in 'The Factory That Time Forgot'," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(8), pages 1053-1079, December.
    3. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Willmott, Hugh & Worthington, Frank, 2004. "Accounting and management-labour relations: the politics of production in the 'factory with a problem'," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 269-302.
    4. Andrew D. Brown & Michael Humphreys, 2006. "Organizational Identity and Place: A Discursive Exploration of Hegemony and Resistance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 231-257, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Arnaud & Bénédicte Vidaillet, 2018. "Clinical and critical: The Lacanian contribution to management and organization studies," Post-Print hal-01591534, HAL.
    2. Parisa Dashtipour & Bénédicte Vidaillet, 2017. "Work as affective experience: The contribution of Christophe Dejours psychodynamics of work," Post-Print hal-01474361, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    master signifier; discourse analysis; Organization Studies Key words: Plant closure; Lacan; enunciation; power; resistance; fantasy; symbolic;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01123563. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.