A post-social conceptual framework for exploring object narratives in sport organisations

2018-04-09T14:28:46Z (GMT) by Aaron Smith Clare Humphries
In this article we propose a theoretical framework for narrative analysis that gives voice to objects in sport organisations. Despite considerable interest in the symbolic and mnemonic potency of some sporting objects – most notably memorabilia – many organisational objects go unnoticed, whilst little attention has been paid to methods for gathering stories from inanimate objects. We suggest that material objects in sport organisations participate in narrative production and therefore constitute a rich investigative site. We adopt a post-social approach to narrative methodology where objects are recognised as non-human actors in organisational sense-making, not as narrative repositories that ‘contain’ stories and memories. A three-domain research framework is developed recommending an approach to eliciting an object narrative within a sport organisation. First, object materiality exposes the significant networks of forces, materials and people – and therefore episodes and actors – that engage with and through objects. Second, since people and objects are enmeshed in sequenced, workplace activities, object practice allows organisational agents to define what stories objects can tell whilst objects reciprocally bound the scope of human performance. Third, object biography provides a strategy to map the connections and transitions that occur over the lifecourse of an object, which reveals a changing web of organisational relations.