Writing Differently: Volume 4

Cover of Writing Differently
Subject:

Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-vii
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Introducing

Pages 1-11
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Abstract

Using vignettes as its main approach, this chapter highlights some of the tensions, opportunities and decidedly difficult choices faced by many people labouring under conditions of gendered and globalised capitalism. The intersecting domains of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and other relations of difference emerge through encounters between and among different people, ideas and practices – often with strikingly different outcomes for those engaged in work, both paid and unpaid. The chapter attempts to exemplify these experiences and trends, ways of being and belonging in the social world, beyond the disembodied academic writing that often populates the pages of organisation studies. With the turn towards embodiment, the chapter questions what new ways of writing and seeing the world might emerge at the intersections of transnational belonging, embodiment and gender? And can writing differently uncover these issues while still being derived from the important and interesting theoretical insights of transnational migration studies and transnational feminist frameworks? Perhaps it begins with putting doubt into the neo-liberal success story, one that can potentially disrupt the narrative so-oft found in business schools around what success looks like in the business world. Yet do so without the traditional switching out of characters that is traditionally the approach taken in gender and race ‘aware’ research: whereby the White women is replaced with a Black (or Asian or Latina) women in the corporate C-suite while the structural arrangements of gendered and racialised capitalism, hardly acknowledged, stay intact. Working at the intersections of feminist inquiry and transnational migration studies, this chapter attempts to do just that.

Abstract

This chapter begins with a short story based on a personal memory which is about how the interplay between ‘human’ and ‘technology’ may indicate a level of mastery in knowing in practice. The story suggests that ‘human’ and ‘technology’ can perform tasks that could not be performed by only one element. I turn to discuss how papers could be designed to be accepted as ‘scientific’, providing examples of the use of stories in research and explicitly sets ‘story’ in relation to Dewey’s ‘art as experience’. Dewey states that we should pay attention to what a product does with and in experience; something that is relevant for scientific products. Different forms of writing contribute knowledge that lie outside the strict framework of scientific articles. Notwithstanding this, a story needs a framework of some sort if it is to connect to a scientific discourse. To be able to write differently, we need arenas for publications that are accepted within the evaluation systems that govern academic careers. This matters to researchers’ careers and to the relevance of the knowledge that is developed in the scientific community and the relevance of universities as ‘knowledge providers’. If the formal structure of an academic article determines what researchers can say, then the scope of scientific knowledge will be limited. The inclusion of stories can stimulate dialogue, potentially link creative and logical thinking together, and bridge theoretical and practical knowledge. We need stories to heal and unite separated life worlds.

Annotation

Pages 67-90
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Abstract

Annotation is a practice that is familiar to many of us, and yet it is a practice so natural that it is hard to pin down its characteristics, to find where its edges are, and identify what it does for us. In this piece, we use reflections on the practices of annotation in four fields of work: academia, software engineering, medical sonography and visual art as a point of departure to theorise annotation as a set of practices that bridge reading, writing and thinking. We think about annotation being performative and consider what and how it brings into being. Revealing hidden practices in our working lives, such as annotation, helps us to understand how knowledge comes to be created, disseminated, legitimated and popularised. To this end, we make the practices of annotation involved in writing the present piece visible in an effort to write differently in management and organisation studies, unpicking and exposing it as ever dialogical and unfinished.

Abstract

This chapter takes the form of an open feminist letter, a complaint and a manifesto presented to the Critical Management Studies (CMS) Academy. It is posted with urgency at a time when Patriarchy is resurging across the globe. My complaint is against the misogyny and the moral injury done to all of us and to our participants through our detached, disembodied, non-relation, pseudo-objective, masculine ways of becoming and being CMS scholars. Drawing on the thinking of Hélène Cixous, I offer five gifts as strategies to break with the masculine reckoning and open up our scholarship to féminine multiplicity and generativity: loving not knowing, return to our material bodies, rightsizing theory, knowledge made flesh-to-flesh and women’s writing. I visit, and suggest our scholarship will benefit from visiting, Cixous’s School of the Dead and her School of Dreams. I advocate for social theatre/performative auto/ethnography as a way to effect change in organisations. Finally, I present a manifesto for women’s writing that can help take our scholarship ‘home’ and contribute to the creation of flourishing organisations. This letter is a Call to Arms.

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore genre-blurring writing, where fiction meets theory, following the argument that texts in management and organisation studies suffer from the ‘textbook syndrome’. The stories that we tell through textbooks not only influence, but also set boundaries for, the way understandings are developed through the eyes of the reader. Often textbooks are written in a way that lead the reader into an idealised linear understanding of an organisation – far from the problems, dilemmas and messy everyday life that managers experience. Our discussion builds on previous literature on writing differently and our own experiences of writing a textbook by involving a professional novelist. Engaging in genre-blurring writing opens up how we think not only about writing, fiction and facts but also in our role as scientists. By situating ourselves, as researchers, at the intersection of fiction and the scientific work, not only new ways of writing, but also of thinking emerge. We discuss three aspects through which fiction challenge and develop our writing and thinking, namely to write with voice, resonance and an open end. Through genre-blurring writing, we create opportunities both to learn and to engage students in learning.

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore classed and gendered identities through feminist duoethnography and memory work. In so doing, we write of and for a place where we no longer live, but which part of us will always inhabit and be inhabited by. Beyond geographical parameters, this place is deeply embedded in us and resides in the past. Being women academics of working-class backgrounds, we have gradually learnt to navigate the once foreign world of academia. Adapting to it has included not always being candid about our background, but in this text we foreground our histories, which ultimately have a bearing on our identities, our politics and our writing. We argue for the value of remembering past events as a source of knowledge which is personal yet social, as we present autobiographical reflections and excerpts of dialogue in which we explore our life and career trajectories. Our experiences, although felt to be subjective and private, are not entirely unique nor disconnected from historical, cultural and political circumstances. The chapter shows a way to explore past and present experiences, and to exercise a way of writing that seeks to capture the richness, contradictions and intersubjective nature of ongoing interpretations of those experiences. We also reflect on how our approach might enrich our understanding of class and gender in academia, and what kind of knowledge it might furnish us with. Above all, we want to acknowledge the value of the knowledge of those, who in various ways, come from ‘other places’.

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Abstract

This chapter explores the radical potentials of mycelic practice. Mycelium is the root network of mushrooms, consisting of spores, which seeks nourishment in their surroundings, constantly spreading, showing ability to interpret its environmental circumstances and distributing nourishment to the spores needing it the most. Each spore develops individual and flexible characteristics, but always in contact with the communal mycelic body. The chapter unpacks the four phases of mycelic life and death: expansion, cannibalism, heksering formation and communication. Mycelic practice, as expansive and cannibalistic, invites us to surpass our individuality, reject the ego and any given dominant order of, say, Western civilisation, such as individual ownership or capitalist logics of growth. Death is part of life. Death sustains life. Just as closeness or intimacy involves awareness of absence understood as that which is not visibly present. Each of the phases in the life and death of mycelium points towards particular strategies and ways of working: politics, organising, methods, writing and citing. Each phase contributes to the critique disrupting the hegemonic political orders.

Abstract

This chapter offers five poems that aim to provide an affective and embodied engagement with the question why women stay silent after experiencing sexual violence. It aims to trouble the idea that coming forward as a victim or survivor is a one-time action or ‘event’. Instead it seeks to make felt how both staying silent and speaking out need continuous negotiation and effort. The poems provide a personal account of the difficulties inherent in navigating systemic power structures such as misogyny and rape culture that produce victims as shameful, guilty and broken. The writing speaks to both ongoing discussions in organisation studies regarding #MeToo (e.g. Ozkazanc Pan, 2018; Pullen & Vacchani, 2019) and efforts that aim to resist norms of academic writing, grouped under the heading ‘writing differently’ (e.g. Fotaki, Metcalfe, & Harding, 2014; Gilmore, Harding, Helin, & Pullen 2019; Grey & Sinclair 2006; Meier & Wegener 2017; Phillips, Pullen, & Rhodes 2014). More specifically, it uses poetic inquiry (cf. Prendergast, Leggo, & Sameshima 2009; van Amsterdam & van Eck, 2019) as the starting point of a feminist ethic of care in order to capture affect, embodiment and tacit knowledge, provide resonance and make an impact on the reader that goes beyond rational understanding.

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Abstract

This chapter is an effort to make sense of the complexities emerging from the tension between my academic-self and activist-self in the case of my participant observation in a small community organization which I call free food store. By drawing from my experiences at the ‘free food store’, I do not only reflect on some specific moments where my multiple roles/selves clash, but also invite my readers to reimagine and build an activist academy that works along with communities to ‘change the world’. While this piece can be considered as an ongoing and intense dialogue between the activist and academic about ‘what is to be done?’ in a neoliberal world, it is also an attempt to think, write and, more importantly, act differently through embodied experiences, aspirations and imaginations.

Abstract

How do we write from the sensory body in ways that can convey the lived experience of the researcher and the researched, which can allow other researchers to make sense of their lived experience as well? What alternative writings could transform disembodied academia through dialogue and relational reflection? The aim of this chapter is to reflect on the value of the researcher’s embodied reflexivity in academic writing. More specifically, this chapter explores the ways in which we can write differently about organisational phenomena by experiencing aesthetic moments in the field. To accomplish this, I share examples of the aesthetic moments that I, as a researcher, experienced while undertaking three ethnographic projects: a study on professional dance, a study on academic motherhood and a study on female-canine companionship. This chapter identifies three aspects that allow the researcher to experience aesthetic moments – namely, appreciating sensory cues, writing ‘in and from the flesh’ and allowing vulnerability to flourish. Paying attention to the social micro-dynamics that exist between researchers and research phenomena and addressing the analytically marginalised experiences of researchers, therefore, allows for developing academic writing practices in more reflexive and sensory-appreciative directions.

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Index

Pages 237-240
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Cover of Writing Differently
DOI
10.1108/S2046-6072202004
Publication date
2020-04-24
Book series
Dialogues in Critical Management Studies
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83867-338-3
eISBN
978-1-83867-337-6
Book series ISSN
2046-6072