Introduction: Personas at Work

Katja Lee


Work is a social condition that makes particular demands on us: it compels and inspires us to craft and perform particular identities. This special issue of Persona Studies is dedicated to the study of those work(ing) personas that we mobilize and perform in order to manage the demands of our labour. As we shall see, the ways in which our employers shape, influence, and discipline our constructions and performances of persona in work settings does not, however, negate our agency in this process: the negotiation and management of sometimes competing and contradictory roles, impulses, and desires can be a site of anxiety and friction but also of creativity.  Many of the contributions in this issue explicitly invoke or take up creative practices in order to find ways to work through the persona-work of both self and others.  Using the performance art of Chris Lloyd, this introduction sets out to explore how work personas and persona-work are structured and negotiated, created and disciplined, invoked and revealed in a cultural climate where the work persona has explicitly and self-consciously entered the marketplace as a valuable commodity.


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