Possibility of the impossible: exploring third order change towards responsible banking

Czegledi-Brown, Reka Imola (2018) Possibility of the impossible: exploring third order change towards responsible banking. DProf thesis, Middlesex University / Ashridge Business School.

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis explores third order change as a ‘form of embodied enactive ethics’ in the context of shareholder capitalism, and the possibility of organizational transformation when it comes to mainstream banking, through narrative based inquiry into the ecosystem of realities of the remittance economy and servitude.

In the context of third order change, my inquiry explores what do we do with a particular experience that insists on being noticed, which not only doesn’t fit the current frame, but when looked at more closely, actually puts the frame itself into question. In other words, how ‘otherness’ is concealed, excluded or ignored.

I approach this question as an Action Research into embodied narratives through a rhizome of inquiries, using three data sources. I aim to uncover and represent both the visible socio-economic ecosystem and the underlying enactive relational representations and processes that could represent the roots of what is on the surface and what needs to remain underground.

Using the lens of the remittance economy and servitude, through a Deep Hanging Out methodology with Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong, I looked at the functioning of mainstream banking, and supplemented these experiences with data gathered from banking employees engaged in providing banking services to this population.

The thesis is an example of interdisciplinary systemic inquiry within the ontological framing of intersubjectivity and relational unconscious; and the epistemological stance of psychoanalytic left. The focus and approach of this scholarly stance is to seek alternative arrangements of meaning and use traces of formations of the unconscious. While having the emphasis of the inquiry on the socio-political implications of engagement in service by composing critical theory in current socio-economic conditions. This also offers bringing novel understanding of the conditions for social change through making possible a symbolic and affective reorganization of the psychosocial world. In choosing this, multilayered inquiry I attempt to look at not only the phenomena at hand but to surfaces hidden dynamics that points to normative order that constructs and maintains those issues.

Applying my inquiry question to the context of my research, I was preoccupied with the following reflective questions:

If the socioeconomic system’s body politic perpetuates social exclusion through economic/ financial exclusion, albeit unwittingly, could it be that the ‘excluded’ fulfill a function for society as a whole that determines the possibility of social change? And if so, could this function be connected to ‘otherness’?

How could the phenomenon of this exclusion be explored if it is inherent, yet not represented in the system, without which the situation’s logic, the narrative order would
collapse?

How does the exclusion of the ‘poor, the migrant workers, the socially abjected’, the ‘have nots’, facilitate the confident running of the current socioeconomic system?

Therefore, what change intervention is possible?

I used two cycles of inquiry to surface the insight central to my argument when approaching third order change, proposing that; ‘otherness’ that is culturally intelligible; and struggles that resemble our own, are possible to relate to and somehow we, as human beings, can grow our capacity to relate to this in others. However, when it comes to relating to the ‘otherness in the other’ it ruptures the (illusionary) coherence of the social world, making us profoundly uncomfortable, evoking the deepest struggle; privileging relationality in a political sense. This means the focus is not on the individual, or on the relationship that could exist between parties but on self-interest and the sovereignty of the normative system.

In essence it is an ontological study that surfaces the question of the ethics of the self-other relationship. As a conclusion, I argue, that third order change is a form of ‘embodied enactive ethics’ – a position that exists in the dimension of being, a way in which we live our lives as the very expression of our inviolable ethical accountability towards and within the normative structure we are party to, as well as creators of.

The conclusion of my inquiry is that third order change requires a paradigm shift, because it invites a new way of being, in the constitution of and functioning of an entity within its environment, rooted in the redefinition and renegotiation of the underlying relatedness and relational practices between those who are impacted.

I note that although individuals might take an ethical stance, through dissenting protocol of the normative system, the question remains how to move from the individual act to a larger, systemic impact that would create a real dent in the symbolic order.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Ashridge Business School
Item ID: 27954
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 08:04
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 18:03
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/27954

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