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Title: Identity as discursive practice : historical, social-cultural and political interactions in understanding workers' identities in tea plantations in Sri Lanka
Author: Karunanayake, Geetha Priyanthi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 8902
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2011
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This study examines how the self-identities of workers in Sri Lankan up-country tea plantations are produced, reproduced and modified in their day-to-day interactions. According to the social constructionist assumptions underpinning the research, I suggest that individual self-identity is how individuals experience and shape their social reality as an outward-inward process which takes place as they interact in public and private spaces. Accordingly, the first research objective is to analyse the interplay of historical, sociocultural, and political macro discourses in the formation of worker self-identities. The second objective is to analyse how micro discourses and processes affect the multiple identities of workers in the Sri Lankan up-country tea plantations. The research methodology incorporates a combination of ethnography and discourse analysis into a single analysis to examine how plantation workers incorporate macro discourses and micro discourses/processes in constructing, reconstructing and changing their self-identity as an ongoing process. By adapting discourse analysis as the method of data analysis, this study threads gender, caste, ethnicity and class differences as multiple dimensions of understanding self-identity and collective identity to show how self-identities in this context are simultaneously traditional and new, ongoing and fragile. This research can be considered as a theoretical contribution to identity scholarship and discusses subjectivity associated with self-identity. Through data, by interweaving of macro discourses and micro interactions, convincing grounds are provided to understand self-identity construction as an ongoing process of compliance and contestation. It is suggested that historical, social-cultural and political realities that workers encounter as objective structures are socially constructed by workers through their daily practices and conversation. Within this context, how workers articulate the fundamentally ambiguous and contradictory nature of their self-identity as singular and collective is discussed. It is stable and emergent, and contested as it becomes intertwined with public and private experiences. The research also makes a contribution to our understanding of cultural identities, because it is the first study of self-identity carried out in a Sri-Lankan tea plantation context, which incorporates both public and private spaces, gender, ethnicity and caste into a single analysis.
Supervisor: Cunliffe, Ann L. ; Lawton, Alan. Sponsor: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business