Positioning Lawyers: Discursive Resources, Professional Ethics, and Identification
Organization, Vol.16, pp. 681-704
Posted: 14 Dec 2009
Date Written: 2009
Critics assert that lawyers’ subject positions make them accomplices to corporate domination. Work on subject position formation, however, frequently ignores either identifications with particular organizations or the manifold discourses circulating around those organizations. To address this, I asked junior corporate attorneys at a large US law firm to reflect on the accusation of being a ‘corporate lackey’. In their responses were four forms of discursive resource that evinced varied sources of identification. The analysis shows that the discursive resources reinforced one another in a ‘reticulated’ fashion: conditioned by encompassing discourses of managerialism and legal professionalism, they supported a particular mode of subjectivation. From this finding, I argue for the need to contextualize studies of professionals in multiple discourses, the advantages of studying arrays of discursive resources and the importance of surfacing ‘submerged’ discursive resources.
Keywords: agency, discourse, discursive resources, ethics, identification, professional identity, subject position
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