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Justifying the authentic self: Swedish public service workers talking about work stress
Uppsala University, Department of Sociology, Uppsala.
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2818-8001
2015 (English)In: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, ISSN 1438-5627, Vol. 16, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is based on in-depth interviews with 28 Swedish public service workers. With the help of narrative analysis, we explore how the workers use language to explain their subjective experiences of work stress. Based on a three-level typology, this article examines: 1. the narrative ielements in the workers' talk about their stress; 2. the narrative strategies they use in positioning or presenting themselves as "stressed"; and 3. the function of the narratives in a societal context. The study shows the following main results: 1. the workers express feelings of shame when talking about their experiences of work stress; 2. they use justifying accounts, e.g. accepting responsibility for becoming ill; and 3. it is suggested that the public service workers' justifications reflect societal demands of being authentic and true to personal values, and that the dominating expressed value is about a public service ethos.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 16, no 1
Keyword [en]
Accounts, Authenticity, Interview, Narrative analysis, Public service ethos, Public service workers, Stress
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27524Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84921950952OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-27524DiVA: diva2:788302
Available from: 2015-02-13 Created: 2015-02-13 Last updated: 2016-05-13Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
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Output format
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