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Pursuing Perfection through Relationality – Studying the Intersubjective Dynamics of Embodied Agency in Ballet

Julkaisun tekijät: Satama Suvi, Huopalainen Astrid

Kustantaja: Sage

Julkaisuvuosi: 2022

Journal: Organization




This study investigates the relational dynamics of embodied agency in the empirical context of ballet. Drawing on 15 ethnographic and 6 photo-elicitation interviews with professional dancers from the Finnish National Ballet, this study analyses the ways in which ballet dancers negotiate their agency in relation to other agents in their everyday work. We show how ballet dancers have to balance between satisfying the needs of the invisible gaze through different layers of relationality, on the one hand, and aiming to create room for their intimate, embodied experiences on the other. This study contributes to the existing knowledge on agency at the workplace by illustrating how it is grounded in the body in relational ways. By furthering the phenomenological understanding of subject formation as a form of intersubjectivity, this study shows how the working self is always relationally constructed, open to ambiguity and, sometimes, ‘caught between’ achieving agency and the objectifying scrutiny of the self and others between the visible onstage and hidden backstage. Consequently, this study offers in-depth insights into and parallels for intersubjective development in organisations.

Last updated on 2022-05-10 at 11:55