Dress and Identity: A Turkish Case Study

26 Pages Posted: 15 May 2003

See all articles by Michael Humphreys

Michael Humphreys

Nottingham University Business School

Andrew D. Brown

Nottingham University Business School

Abstract

This paper examines how dress can be implicated in contests regarding individual and organizational identities. Identities are understood as being constituted within discursive regimes, and to be subjectively available to people in the form of self-narratives. The pluralism and polyphony that characterize organizations means that collective self-narratives are likely to be fractured, contested and multi-layered. It is in this context that attire is an important object symbol that conveys information about the individual and collective self. Here we focus on aspects of dress, especially the Islamic headscarf, and its role in the dynamics of collective identity maintenance and challenge in one all-female Turkish university department. Our ethnographic approach yielded multiple, related and sometimes overlapping story lines centred on dress. These we have chosen to represent as a single though multi-voiced faculty narrative in order to facilitate analysis of what was a particularly rich symbolic milieu. The principal research contribution of this paper is as a discussion of participants' clothing in the constitution of individual and organizational narrative identities, and its importance for understanding the dynamics of identity conflicts.

Suggested Citation

Humphreys, Michael and Brown, Andrew D., Dress and Identity: A Turkish Case Study. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=342792

Michael Humphreys (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Andrew D. Brown

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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