‘We’re not banks’: Exploring self-discipline, subjectivity and co-operative work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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In studies of the workplace, the enterprising employee is theorized as autonomous, self-actualizing and calculating; self-discipline is linked to self-interest. This article explores the question of self-discipline by drawing on empirical material from a longitudinal study of the Irish credit union movement. As financial co-operatives, credit unions have a tradition of helping local communities under the aegis of mutuality and co-operative credit. The article theorizes two interrelated, yet antagonistic discourses within the credit union movement; an older community service discourse and an emerging enterprise discourse. In tracing the question of what it means to be a credit union volunteer, the article explores some of the tensions and contradictions between the two discourses, as experienced by volunteers who struggle with the question of how to balance the movement's traditional self-help ethos with the growing pressures to become more entrepreneurial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-117
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Structured keywords

  • MGMT Work Organisation and Public Policy
  • MGMT theme Inclusive Economy


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