Newcastle University Business School

Event Item

Exploring notions of community in the identity work of the members of a consumer co-operative

Date/Time: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 13:30 - 15:00

Venue: Room 2.13, Newcastle University Business School

Speaker: Pr. Nick Ellis, Durham University Business School

Professor Nick Ellis presents his paper, based on a case study of a community/consumer-co-operative public house (or pub). During this seminar he will explore the degree to which community-owned enterprises (COEs) can provide alternative bases to economic role-based identity around which members’ ‘identities may be formed, claims articulated, values expressed, and action manifested’ (Crane & Ruebottom 2011).

He theorises that this is done so by analysing the discursive identity construction practices of COE members (consumers), focusing on various notions of community drawn upon in 37 interviews.

The full paper also looks at how the patterns of occurrence are plotted on a series of interpretive repertoires that can be categorised into two groups: one that reflects a sense of connection or attachment and one of disconnection or division, i.e. community and boundaries respectively. As these repertoires collide, tensions are evident between the hegemonic discourse of neoliberal managerialism and that of democratic collective ownership.

The study’s main contribution is to use the lens of identity work to unpack some of the ‘paradoxical tensions’ residing within COEs as participants juggle ‘competing values, roles and memberships’ in their aim to secure ‘a socially viable identity positioning’ (Ghadiri et al 2015). In analysing these tensions, a conceptual contribution is also made by unpacking the notion of community itself.

Research group: Services Marketing