Holding up the Aegis: On the Construction of Social Roles by Polish IT-professionals and the Change in Agency

Monika Kostera, Agnieszka Postuła


This paper takes up the self-construction of the social roles of Polish IT professionals. We conducted an ethnographic study and observed that many of our interviewees defined their roles by negation and by invoking the internal and often hermetic aspects of their profession. Labeling this practice “holding up the shield,” we trace its archetypical roots. The recurrent use of this practice makes a change in agency in the process of constructing the role possible, to the benefit of the IT professionals.


IT-professionals; Archetypes; Social roles; Change in agency; Profession; Ethnography

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