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Bringing together research from critical diversity studies and organization theory, this edited collection challenges unspoken norms and patterns of discrimination in organizational bodies. The authors problematize the management of diversity by focusing on the differentiations between racialized, aged, gendered and sexed bodies. By taking a fresh approach and placing the body at the forefront of power relations, this thought-provoking book seeks to challenge the homogenizing and oppressive dimensions of organizational governance, structure and culture that deny bodily difference. An insightful read for scholars of HRM, diversity management and organization, Diversity, Affect and Embodiment in Organizing encourages an active approach to tackling discrimination and recognizes the diversity of embodied lives.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introducing Affective Embodiment and Diversity

This occurs against the revelations about the widespread sexual harassment and persisting inequalities in the workplace such as gender pay gap and the absence of women and minoritized others from positions of power. Simultaneously, there has been a powerful backlash against women’s empowerment taking the form of anti-gender and postfeminist discourses. We argue that the approach to equal opportunities in the workplace emerging from the liberal, free market conception of employment fails to address the root causes of discrimination because gender and other inequalities are often necessary for sustaining and strengthening the global capital accumulation. This edited collection offers an affective embodiment as a central practice and concept to problematize diversity. Without understanding how embodied differences are conditioned and reproduced, we might be unable to address inequalities in organizations.
Marianna Fotaki, Alison Pullen

Theoretical Developments: Affect, Bodies and Diversity

Frontmatter

2. The Political and Ethical Potential of Affective Resonance Between Bodies

This chapter explores affective resonances between bodies and direct theoretical and analytical attention to their political and ethical potential. Thereby, the chapter problematizes the concept central in much management literature of a confined, rational individual as the centre of decision-making. The chapter draws on concepts of affect, and feminist writing on vulnerability and corporeal generosity to analyse a conversation at a seminar for educational managers in Denmark. Pors shows how an initial emotional outburst from one manager sat in motion an embodied and affective sharing of concerns through which the managers came to oppose the political pressures they are enmeshed in. The chapter offers new possibilities for thinking about organizational ethics by attending to affective and trans-subjective ways of thinking and feeling in organizations.
Justine Grønbæk Pors

3. Nurturing Bodies: Exploring Discourses of Parental Leave as Communicative Practices of Affective Embodiment

Focusing on discourses of parental leave, we explore how certain bodies became visible and valuable in work contexts, whereas others are neglected/rejected. To this end, we study “the work-body relation as an indeterminate symbolic-material object constituted in communication” (Ashcraft, Knowing work through the communication of difference: a revised agenda for difference studies. In: Mumby DK (ed) Reframing difference in organizational communication studies: research, pedagogy, practice. Sage, Los Angeles, pp. 3–30, 2011). And we develop a conceptual framework for analyzing communicative practices of affective embodiment, understood as patterned utterances that endow specific relations between discourses and materialities with affective charges (intensity and valence). Such practices, we argue, constitute the individual and collective identities involved; they enable (and delimit) the embodiment of parental leave. We explore four such embodiments to illustrate how parenting and parental leave has not only become more visible and viable for some employees but also continues to be a privilege not available to all.
Sine N. Just, Robyn V. Remke

4. Body-Sensitive Diversity Research Between Enablement and Disablement

The chapter discusses the opportunities and limits of the ‘corporeal turn’ for research at the intersection of diversity research and management and organization studies. By focusing on the often neglected category of dis-/ability, the chapter illustrates that body-sensitive diversity research is not necessarily emancipatory. Rather, a close look at the conflictual relationship between dis-/ability and ‘the body’ shows that both the embodiment of individual life experiences and the social processes of enablement and disablement need to be acknowledged. Finally, the chapter pleads for the development of an ‘etho-ontological’ stance toward the supposedly flawed body, which should be accompanied by research on how ways of organizing co-shape bodies and embodiment at work.
Laura Dobusch

5. The Sick Body: Conceptualizing the Experience of Illness in Senior Leadership

There has been a proliferation of research that has explored the role of embodiment in leadership; however, a common feature of this literature is the assumption of ‘corporeal intactness’, that is, leaders’ bodies are treated as unfailingly healthy objects. Ghin suggests that this absence reflects a broader oversight in leadership scholarship to countenance the illness experience of those in formal positions of organizational power. He argues that the conceptualization of a ‘sick body’ challenges individualistic, masculine, and heroic characterizations of leadership, which have been stubbornly resistant to change and further emboldened by health discourses and practices that promote body mastery. Revealing the sick-bodied leader enables a different leadership discourse to emerge, one that recognizes the universality of the illness experience and ordinariness of leaders’ bodies.
Peter P. Ghin

Empirical Studies of Diversity and Affective Embodiment

Frontmatter

6. Uniform Matters: Body Possibilities of the Gendered Soldier

This chapter analyses the military uniform as a material and symbolic gendered marker of identity and belonging. It investigates the ways in which the military uniform affectively relates body possibilities of enacting profession with gendered identities. Taking the intersection of affect and discourse as our point of departure, we conceptualize and study affective-discursive body possibilities as experienced and expressed by male and female soldiers. We develop four affective figures of body possibilities from our empirical material: becoming-soldier, becoming-woman-not-soldier, becoming-soldier-not-woman, and becoming-soldier-woman. These four figures become affectively charges as the uniform accommodates different bodies differently, thereby inviting diversity, but also positing diverse bodies as minorities, as deviations from the normal soldierly body. We end by discussing how such charging is always inhibiting, but also enabling.
Sine N. Just, Line Kirkegaard, Sara Louise Muhr

7. Dancers as Inter-Corporeality: Breaking Down the Reluctant Body

Dancing like feeling, becoming, corporeally connecting…
The current account draws on my experience in the organized community of the dance to illustrate the ability of the body to give rise to a reflexive understanding of the emergent potentialities and limitations as individuals interact with each other in organizational contexts. It discusses corporeally felt moments of tension arising in the space between negotiated ordered and freer dancing interactions to propose the emergence of an affective sociality presenting itself as a resolution of this tension, while partners generously and openly dispose their bodies to the touch of the other. Through open corporeal sharing, partners reinvent their body’s ability to perform multiple gendered selves freed from dominating or emancipatory tendencies, thus breaking down traditionally conceived gender stereotypes.
Emmanouela Mandalaki

8. Bounded Complexity of Bodily Realities: The (Dis)Embodiment of Elderly Lesbians

This text analyses the current life conditions of homosexual women aged over 60 in terms of their structural (dis)embodiment and the bounded complexity of their bodily realities. Specifically, we consider their intersectional position along the following categories: (old) age, gender and sexual orientation. The data is drawn from narrative interviews with older lesbians living in Austria, framed methodically by the concept of life conditions and investigated using an analytical content method. Applying a general framework to analyse the bounded complexity of bodily realities, our data presents a broad picture of bodily imprints within the current lives of older lesbians in Austria.
Bärbel S. Traunsteiner, Regine Bendl

9. The Embodiment of Otherness: Deconstructing Power Relations Between Staffing Agencies, Diverse Jobseekers, and Organizations in the Israeli Business Sector

Prior research has not examined staffing agencies’ (SAs) impact on the workforce diversity of their client organizations, where jobseekers are placed to work. Our exploratory qualitative study addresses this gap in the literature as well as critically examines the embodiment of diverse jobseekers as constructed by SAs. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with recruiters in SAs that serve the Israeli business sector. The findings suggest that practices utilized by a recruiting agency vis-à-vis their clients could promote workforce diversity, while in reality they often inhibit it. We illustrate the dual potential effect of SAs on the workforce diversity of their client organizations and critically analyze their function as intermediaries that construct the “otherness” of diverse jobseekers and exploit it in ways which might exacerbate their employment precariousness. Theoretical considerations and practical implications are discussed.
Shani Kuna, Ronit Nadiv

10. Disembodied Senior Managers: The Perspective of Male Senior Managers in an Australian Hospitality Organisation

This chapter focuses on the underrepresentation of women in senior management positions in one Australian organisation. The study is theoretically informed by Joan Acker’s concept of the “disembodied worker”, which she defines as an unencumbered worker who is totally dedicated to work and with no responsibilities for family care. The characteristics of the “disembodied worker” are abstract and neutral in the organisational text; however, some authors have suggested that it resembles male rather than female workers. This study draws on semi-structured interviews with nine male senior managers in one hospitality organisation (called Hospitality) in Australia and uses a critical social constructivist philosophy and feminist lens. This chapter addresses the following questions: How do men in senior positions (re)construct the ideal candidate for managerial position and how do their own experiences shape this construction? The interviews revealed that while organisations are defined as sex-neutral, a specific masculine image of the “disembodied worker” exists which continuously (re)constructs and reinforces the masculine image of senior roles which makes men seem more legitimate as leaders than women.
Mahan Poorhosseinzadeh, Glenda Strachan, Kaye Broadbent

Critical Political Approaches on Affective Embodiment

Frontmatter

11. Embodying the Social: Desire and Devo(r)ation at the Teatro Oficina

The Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona organizes bodily performance in an affect-rich, interactive, and politically charged style described as “anthropophagic”. Drawing on the anthropophagy trope, I argue that thinking about organizing anthropophagically provides new ways of approaching bodies and affect, thinking about subjectivity relationally, and situating self and other in an intimate yet ambivalent encounter. Using the Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona as a case, I illustrate the broad features of anthropophagic organizing, pointing to the organizational, social, and political implications of anthropophagic relationality. Engaging with Oficina’s unique style and forms of embodiment helps us to imagine how bodies and affect can be used creatively to establish a performative politics, marked by affective intensity and participative presence.
Gazi Islam

12. Affect, Diversity, and the Problem of Consolation in the Critique of Public Servant Identity

This chapter seeks to contribute to the project of constructing a more radical, feminist-oriented diversity through the critical study of affect in Public Service. It does so by focusing on the discursive underpinnings of Public Servant identity amidst neoliberal, patriarchal ‘governmentalities’, particularly those which normalize affective labour in the form of a ‘diversified’ responsiveness to citizens-customers. Following recent post-Weberian and Foucauldian readings of Public Servant ethos, affective diversity is interpreted critically as the effect of neoliberal regimes and their commodification of emotions. Consequently, an abstract, ‘dis-affected’ diversity is conceived as the righteous horizon for Public Servant identity work, on the moral grounds of replacing a responsive-but-discriminatory disposition with an indifferent-yet-equalizing one, against the 'misguided' diversity of customer-oriented neoliberalism. Nevertheless, the chapter also reflects critically around such contentions, drawing on what Barnett has called the ‘consolations of neoliberalism’. Here, 'consolation' concerns both the critical researcher-critic's reassurance about her ability to decipher neoliberal regimes, along with actors who resist them, and her under-theorization of the way in which neoliberalism is embodied into a plurality of differences at the concrete, everyday level. I propose that the critique of consolation not only reveals the limitations of certain ‘disembodied’ calls for the study of diversity, often coming from the liberal left and critical management scholarship, but also illuminates the decisive role that the desire of the researcher-critic plays in commiting to a more radical experience of diversity, by propelling a confrontation with her own embodied attachments.
Francisco Valenzuela

13. Reverie as Reflexivity

Although diversity categories enable academics to reflect on relationships and power inequities during the research process, psychosocial scholars argue that they also run the risk of homogenising and constraining our understanding of the other. The chapter employs the radical psychoanalytical principles of Reverie by Wilfred Bion (1962) to develop an approach more attuned to affect in the provision of reflexivity. Drawing on the accounts given by men and women executives and non-executives in accounting and finance, the chapter explains how reverie can alert scholars to the role that affect plays in shaping the direction of an unfolding dialogue, the establishment of affinities, and the presence of unconscious relational forms. The chapter makes a methodological contribution by tracing how the pragmatic imbrication of a specific aspect of psychoanalysis can offer hope to scholars wishing to move beyond the confines of diversity categories, as a way to begin to know their research participants.
Darren T. Baker

Backmatter

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