Positioning Lawyers: Discursive Resources, Professional Ethics, and Identification

Organization, Vol.16, pp. 681-704

Posted: 14 Dec 2009

See all articles by Timothy Kuhn

Timothy Kuhn

University of Colorado at Boulder

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Timothy, Positioning Lawyers: Discursive Resources, Professional Ethics, and Identification (2009). Organization, Vol.16, pp. 681-704. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1522242

Timothy Kuhn (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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