Performative Identity Regulation in Rehabilitative Home Care Work: An Analysis of How Experts’ Embodied Mediation of the Managerial Ideology ‘Activates’ New Frontline Identities

Maya Christiane Flensborg Jensen, Sara Louise Muhr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

133 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores how therapists when introduced as new so-called frontline ‘experts’ in home care work, become both discursive and embodied mediators for the managerial ideology of rehabilitation, and how their presence regulates the care aides’ subjectivities at work. We show how the managerial discourse of rehabilitation mobilizes the care aides to transform their identity from traditional nurturing to rehabilitation, as a result of promoting the latter as more professional. While the traditional managers/nurses promote the identity transfer through more classic discursive regulation at a distance from ‘the office’, the therapists do so through what we label performative regulation. Performative regulation is exercised by the therapists performing the desired role at the frontline and thus embodies the ideal and transfers it by embodied practices, not directives. With this notion of performative regulation, the article emphasizes the material, physical, embodied and performative dimensions of professional identity regulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)211-230
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: January 17, 2019


  • Home care work
  • Identity regulation
  • Performativity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Resistance

Cite this