This book breaks new ground in interpreting how identity informs the judgements of State workers, as normative orientations coincide with identities and authority. At all levels, legal ordering becomes entangled with moral orientations and the micropolitics of identification, as workers interact with one another and their clients. The result is neither law nor order, but a fragile cultural politics of workers acting on citizens as they act out their identities. Using case studies in the field, the book conducts an exploration of the State, whilst holding on to the strong notions of identity, power and normative orientation. It introduces a unique notion of rights by arguing that workers assert identity and power as they make judgements about who gets what from the State.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The research setting: spaces, politics and work cultures; Studying experience and identity; Identity and morality; Power in motion: negotiating the state; Cultures of work: incorporating difference as loosely shared meanings; Conclusion: reimagining discretion as exeptionalism; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
'The major strengths of the study can be found in Oberweis and Musheno's careful and convincing methodological approach and in their persuasive argument about the complexities of identity...scholars who use qualitative research methods to understand culture, identity, and law in practice will find this study illuminating. The sections on methodology and the conceptualization of identity are detailed and insightful and offer convincing critiques of mainstream scholarship.' The Law and Politics Book Review