Bridging the contradictions of social constructionism and psychoanalysis in a study of workplace emotions in India
journal contributionposted on 09.12.2015, 12:03 by Eda Ulus, Y. Gabriel
This article makes a contribution to the study of emotions in organizations by offering a systematic juxtaposition and cross-fertilization of psychoanalytic and social constructionist approaches. These two traditions have found it hard to communicate in the past when addressing organizational emotions. Points of similarity and tension between them are discussed in connection with two critical case studies of female Indian managers discussing their emotions at the workplace. These were obtained during field work in which emotions were studied through narratives generated by a free-association interview approach. Both the emotions described in the narratives themselves and the emotions of the interview encounter were analysed, as resources for a rapprochement of contrasting perspectives on emotion. This rapprochement acknowledges the psychoanalytic emphasis on unconscious dynamics shaping the emotional lives of individuals and groups, while also honouring the social constructionist emphasis on how emotions are influenced by social, cultural and discursive practices.