TitleThe chameleon factor
NameDanna Lynch, Karen (author), Cerulo, Karen (chair), Zerubavel, Eviatar (internal member), Horwitz, Allan (internal member), Rosenfield, Sarah (internal member), Gerson, Kathleen (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis project uses a unique theoretical lens that integrates research from sociology, cognitive science, cognitive anthropology, and psychology to examine the "logics of action" inherent in daily role performances. I draw on 60 in-depth interviews with working parents from a variety of occupations to demonstrate how people establish themselves in various role-identities, as well as how people switch among and/or overlap established role components. I have found that like chameleons, most social actors possess the adaptive ability to alter their identifications of self-in-role, in part or in whole, to match the physical and mental environments in which they reside. This adaptive ability operates as an important means by which people reduce the probabilities of experiencing role conflict and role stress, even in those cases where the normative constructs of their roles may seem to be at odds. I note that culture plays an important part in the process of adaptation. It ingrains, reinforces and refines the capacities -- that is, the skills, moods, habits, needs, goals, and situated modes of thoughts and action -- out of which people construct the practices they use to establish and/or change their role-based positions. By demonstrating that people draw selectively from available cultural resources in developing lines of action, I address the question of what gives cultural practices their pervasive influence. Hence, my project serves double duty. By providing valuable information about how people mentally manage busy lifestyles, my project is of use to both individual role players, struggling with competing priorities, and corporate policy makers, eager to engage a productive and motivated work force. At the same time, I look at a crucial piece of the sociological puzzle: the organization of culture. I demonstrate not only that people use culture strategically, to pursue valued ends, but that some cultural elements can be used to control, anchor, or organize others. In this way, the project makes a new contribution to the field of cultural sociology.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 288-297)
Noteby Karen Danna Lynch
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.