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Title: Identities, mental health and the workplace : a critical exploration
Author: Elraz, Hadar
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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The incidence of mental illness is both a widespread and growing; and yet studies show that employers are reluctant to hire people with mental health conditions (MHCs). Despite often having an excellent set of qualifications and skills, backed up with a sound employment record, the stigma surrounding mental illness means that people with MHCs struggle to gain and maintain employment. This study explores the experiences of people with MHCs in work. The research focuses on how these individuals manage their condition while maintaining a legitimate identity at work in the context of widespread stigma over mental illness. Taking a critical poststructuralist approach to identity, and drawing on semi-structured interviews with people with MHCs, the research highlights a complex set of factors facilitating the construction of a pejorative mental illness subject position that prevails in contemporary society and in the workplace. The study also illustrates how individuals act upon this subject position and the effects this has on their working lives. Finally, the study considers the agential practices of self-management that are illustrative of the process of resistance and the negotiation of a legitimised identity. The study considers the effectiveness of these struggles over seeing, being and doing for the long term prospects of mental health at work. The study offers contributions to knowledge in three areas: to critical identities literature by including the experiences of mental health in the study of marginalised identities at work; to the literature on invisible and stigmatised identities, by providing a better understanding on the processes of identification; and to theorising on resistance and resistant identities as practices of self-care (Foucault, 1986). In doing so, the research not only critically analyses the concerns of a marginalised group at work but also offers broader implications to understanding mental health of all workers, and for society at large.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)