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Shaping Employee Identity

Quotes from: Gusterson, Hugh. Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War. (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California, 1996)

"The power of the social processes sustaining the laboratory's work lies in their ability to actively, positively, produce and reshape the identities and imaginations of its employees as they are transformed from neophytes into weapons scientists....As the laboratory re-produces its scientists, it not only works on their beliefs and their vocabularies; it also molds their fears, their joys, and their excitements, turning them to the service of nuclear deterrence."
(Gusterson, Nuclear Rites, pp. 42-43)

" 'It is my impression,' said Donald King...a laboratory administrator who quit and joined the antinuclear movement, 'that most employees took a job at the lab for the same reason I did-because they need work and were offered a job at good pay. Most employees nave never given the matter of the morality of their activity much thought.' And Debra Rosenthal...says of nuclear weapons scientists at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories in New Mexico, 'The ethical dimensions of their own work was [sic] never a topic of conversation.' She criticizes weapons scientists for failing to question the ethics of their vocation, for justifying their work with 'the hackneyed phrases that accompany the tunes played by the blaring brass and tinkling cymbals of an all-American marching band,' and for resorting to 'platitudes like "we are the good guys"'".
(Gusterson, Nuclear Rites, pp. 50-51)

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