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Beyond Subjectless Abstractions: A Feminist Praxis Contribution

Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies

ISBN: 978-1-78635-498-3, eISBN: 978-1-78635-497-6

Publication date: 11 April 2017


This chapter addresses growing concerns that, despite being a radically intentioned community, Critical Management Studies (CMS) lacks an orientation to achieve pragmatic change. In response I argue that the failure to address the continuing marginalisation of the subaltern is key to CMS being negatively represented as an elitist self-preoccupied endeavour. This state of affairs is linked to a legacy of the ‘postmodern’ turn, which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, as evidenced by the nature of contemporary debates continuing to reflect the stylistic fetishes of that time. I contend that the ghost of postmodernism is evident in the continuing predilection to produce signification discourses marked by symbolic absences, which politically confine such texts to the level of epistemology. The lack of integration of ontological concerns means that corporeal aspects of daily life are neglected, resulting in an abstracted ‘subjectless’ mode of representation. To address these limitations, a feminist activist version of post-structuralism (PSF) of the time is revisited, which through its distinctive attention to community concerns, enabled the linking of epistemological and ontological representations; thereby facilitating the creation of a framework for pragmatic change. As the chapter demonstrates, by drawing attention to the integral relationship between the modes of representation, power relations and subsequent social effects, poststructuralist feminists were able to achieve praxis outcomes. Accordingly, I argue this treasure house of ideas needs to be reclaimed and provides illustrations of the design principles proffered to support my contentions.



Bissett, N. (2017), "Beyond Subjectless Abstractions: A Feminist Praxis Contribution", Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies (Dialogues in Critical Management Studies, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-83.



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