Meanings of recovery and recovered meanings through engaging with workplace emotions: Stories and metaphors of Indian employees
Ulus, E. (2011) Meanings of recovery and recovered meanings through engaging with workplace emotions: Stories and metaphors of Indian employees. In: Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism, SCOS, Istanbul, Turkey, July, 2011. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16715
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The diverse meanings of recovery and the recovery of meaning itself can emerge in sharp relief through an exploration of emotions at work, and this topic is my contribution to the conference. This presentation will discuss research material collected during field work in India in February 2009 and January 2010, in which emotions in organisations were the focus of the research agenda. India is a remarkable landscape in which to explore emotions about recovery in organisational settings, as it has bewildering diversity including unique meeting points of East and West, alongside a history of multiple foreign occupiers, involving dynamics that significantly affect current working life. The theme of recovery surfaced regularly in my interactions with Indian employees, and it featured in different forms as recovery from the current recession, from specific work traumas and disappointments, and, more generally, from past colonial oppressions. Recovery may describe discrete events at a specific period of time, or it may refer to an ongoing process at work; moments of recovery may even have become conscious for the first time through the process of the research interview. The presentation will be based on data extracts, including stories, from interviews with employees in Chennai and Delhi, in the course of which specific attention was paid to social and familial influences upon making sense of emotions at the work place. Social constructionist and psychoanalytic frameworks to studying emotion will then be deployed to develop an understanding of the emotional infrastructure underpinning the experience of, and perceived threats to, recovery. Social constructionist accounts will situate the meaning of emotions and recovery in the historical context of postcolonial anxieties and the impact of both Eastern and Western ways of organising upon the modern Indian organisation. Psychoanalytic views will recover awareness about the elusive, yet persistent unconscious patterns of relating and recovering rooted in individual biography, intertwined with organizational and other social group memberships. The implications of this heightened consciousness and understanding about emotions experienced throughout recovery work will be stressed, with movement toward future healing.