Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies: Volume 3

Cover of Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-viii
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Abstract

The aim of my chapter is to draw on conceptualisations of sexism, racism, epistemology of white ignorance and critical race theorists’ critiques of white feminism to examine critical management studies (CMS) practices. The purpose of the chapter is to acknowledge the contribution of CMS feminists and look to how we can go beyond current practices to include antiracism in our feminisms. In particular, I show how sexism, racism and white ignorance are collectively produced in CMS and operate through mundane, and avoidable, organisational and pedagogical processes. I respond to the editors’ call for chapters by offering a practical politics through the idea of a killjoy manifesto, taking inspiration from the writings of Sara Ahmed. An important part of is that is for white feminism in CMS to attend to critiques from racially minoritised academics, activists and workers. Whilst challenging, I hope the chapter provides practical and theoretical resources and encouragement.

Abstract

I propose in this chapter that the dominant practice of critical management studies (CMS) is characterised by white masculinity, where theorising tends to assume a white universal norm while commodifying difference. This approach treats diversity as something CMS has, rather than is. In order to disrupt the prevailing practice, I explore how anti-racist feminisms (a term I use here to refer to the diverse movements of postcolonial feminism and feminisms of colour) may shape CMS towards a more reflexive and meaningful engagement with difference. In reflecting on my own performance of white masculinity as an aspiring critical management scholar, I suggest that an anti-racist feminist approach bears the potential to challenge relations of domination within CMS and reinvigorate our pursuits for emancipation. It is my hope that the anti-racist feminist perspective advanced in this chapter may offer an opportunity for critical management scholars to ‘do’ critique differently through a radical inclusion of previously marginalised perspectives.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

This chapter explores the potential for the classroom to be a space for activism and hope within the contemporary business school. Drawing on the extant literature, a reflexive account of our own teaching and learning practice, and a small number of interviews with academics using feminist material in their teaching in business schools, we explore the challenges, opportunities and joys experienced in the feminist classroom. We suggest that engaging in feminist teaching practice and theory can offer an opportunity for academics to engage in the critical management studies practice which is often said to be lacking within management research. We begin by setting out the extant positioning of Critical Management Studies, moving to an analysis of the educational context. Interwoven through this are our own perspectives. Our own reflections do not reveal the identities of students.

Abstract

The identities of Muslim women tend to be essentialized into binaries of what she is and what she ought to be (Golnaraghi & Dye, 2016). For far too long Muslim women’s voices in North America have been marginalized by hegemonic Orientalist (Said, 1978) and traditionalist (Clarke, 2003) Islamic discourses. When it comes to issues of agency, empowerment, and self-expression, it is either imposed by Western ideals or regulated by traditionalist politics of Islam (Zine, 2006). As such, Muslim women activists must engage and negotiate within the dual and narrow oppressions of Orientalist and traditionalist Islamic representations of her (Khan, 1998; Zine, 2006). Given the scarcity of space provided in print media (Golnaraghi & Dye, 2016; Golnaraghi & Mills, 2013) for Muslim women to construct, appropriate, and remake their own identities, some have turned to social media to challenge these dichotomies through activism and resistance. Such a space is necessary in order to recover, resurface, and reauthorize the hybrid voices, experiences, and identities of the Muslim woman on their own terms in order to challenge hegemonic discourse. Highlighting the nuances of feminist activism, particularly that of Muslim postcolonial feminists that can make a difference to Critical Management Studies (CMS) as a community concerned with social justice and challenging marginalization and oppression. The “Somewhere in America #Mipsterz” (Muslim hipsters) video launched in 2013, the site for our critical discourse analysis, is one case where this resistance can be seen, showcasing fashionable veiled Muslim women artistically expressing themselves to the beats of Jay Z.

Abstract

Radical feminist theory and practice has actively questioned power relationships between men, women and people of color as a cornerstone of capitalist development since the 1970s while demonstrating the differential impact of such inequality generating structures and relationships on lives and bodies. Their argument about the process of social reproduction and, especially, the reproduction of labor-power both achieved through the dispossession of the female and (colonial) body and the expropriation of their work (Federici, 2004) is acutely relevant to the analysis of the consequences of the unfolding Global Financial Crisis. Yet, the crisis can be a motivating force for changing the established power relations. Using three different case studies of female initiatives aiming to counteract the imposition of neoliberal attack on their livelihoods in crisis-stricken Greece, the chapter examines how the existing experience of feminist thinking and activism from within and outside of academia, can contribute to the cultivation of affective embodied relations, and building upon the idea of “feminist solidarity” (Mohanty, 2003), in addressing the challenges of the crisis and post-crisis policies.

Abstract

This chapter explores how writing ‘with animals’ can contribute to the development of feminist and queer approaches in Critical Management Studies (CMS). The chapter is theoretically framed with previous work in organisational studies and CMS on gendered writing and introduces the queer practice of ‘dog-writing’ used by feminists in human-animal studies like Donna Haraway and Susan McHugh. Cixous’ essay on ‘On birds, women and writing’ is used to introduce the idea of writing as a ‘difficult joy’. The author then uses writing from her personal journals to ‘write with animals’, especially birds, to show how thought can start. Writing with animals means to be-in-the-world with animals and recognise the ways they are foundational to not only organisational life, but thought itself. By drawing on developments by queer and feminist writers in human-animal studies CMS writers can engage with contemporary creative resistance practices and offer affirmative alternatives.

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Abstract

This chapter takes inspiration from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s artistic work and academic writing to attend to some of the under-utilised dimensions of her work to date, that of making. Using unconventional methodologies from Sedgewick, I present my own unconventional methodologies to queer CMS. In this way through theory and making, we can queer CMS anew.

Abstract

In this short piece we take issue with the current separatist tendencies that are being expressed in certain parts of the queer community. We illustrate how this compares with central ideas in proto-queer thought and queer theory, and how it risks undermining the possibility of a queer dialogue and queer politics.

Abstract

Queer scholars and activists share a central predicament with critical management studies: how to avoid the dangers of self-defeat. That is, how can one make a critical difference without becoming embroiled with or turning into the powers that be? This chapter offers suggestions for how to remain critical and queer by first introducing the notion of queer posing then exploring its conditions of possibility in terms of performativity and affectivity, respectively.

Here, we encounter another seeming impasse between the epistemological voluntarism of which studies in the performative vein are sometimes accused and the charge of ontological determinism that is often levelled against affect theory. Turning from vain dichotomies to productive tensions, we propose that potential for critical performativity is inherent to affective organizing of materiality as events in relation to which action becomes possible. The concept of plasticity, we suggest, enables investigations of the simultaneously formed and formative character of being and, further, the explosive potential of critique – the shaping of corporeal events is not only confining, but also holds potential for blowing up existing configurations.

On this basis, we sketch three plastic relations of affectivity and performativity, three modes of organizing material assemblages as actionable events: invitation, intervention, and celebration. We illustrate the performative power and critical potential of these three modes of affective organizing by indicating how they give form to, are formed by, and become explosive to Sabaah, a Danish activist network and community for LGBT people with minority ethnic background.

Abstract

Critical management studies (CMS) has been criticised on a number of fronts, not the least of them being its poor track record of reflecting and challenging its internal mechanisms of hierarchy and exclusion. Acknowledging these issues, this chapter explores the role queer theory can play in developing a queer friendship with CMS, whereby CMS might be able to reflect on its normalising tendencies. This chapter does not claim that queer theory is a silver bullet which can deliver itself or otherwise work miracles for solving the complex problems that beset CMS. Rather, it seeks to fan the queer embers that already exist within CMS to spark queerer futures. Part of this endeavour involves bringing CMS and queer theory closer together, but not so close that the two become comfortable companions. As this chapter suggests, a queer friendship will involve antagonisms and tensions between queer and CMS help each other to refute the normative at every turn and gesture towards something more: queerness. Pursuing this project, this chapter provides a brief review of queer theory before outlining current queer stirrings within CMS. The remainder of the chapter focuses on what we might hope to happen from CMS and queer theory being yoked together in a queer friendship, such as bringing queers to the fore in business schools, queering management conferences and embracing forms of queer negativity that condition more radical conceptions of the future.

Biographies

Pages 249-254
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Index

Pages 255-261
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Cover of Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
DOI
10.1108/S2046-607220173
Publication date
2017-04-11
Book series
Dialogues in Critical Management Studies
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78635-498-3
eISBN
978-1-78635-497-6
Book series ISSN
2046-6072