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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2018

Nceba Ndzwayiba and Melissa Steyn

The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse the discourses of gender empowerment in South African organisations to determine the extent to which they reify or…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse the discourses of gender empowerment in South African organisations to determine the extent to which they reify or resist the entrenched oppressive gender binaries.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple case studies design and critical discourse analysis were employed to collect and analyse the data. Research entailed critical analysis of 36 published documents containing information on gender and gender empowerment. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with six transformation managers as change agents who are tasked with the responsibility of driving gender empowerment in the selected organisations.

Findings

The authors found that gender in studied organisations was insularly defined within the confines of the male–female gender binaries. Consequently, designed gender empowerment strategies and ensuing initiatives mainly focussed on promoting the inclusion of heterosexual women in and on protecting these women from heterosexual men. Thus, gender empowerment systematised heteropatriachy in organisational culture and processes while invisibilising and annihilating the possibility of existence of alternative genders outside these naturalised binaries. Transformation managers, as change agents, fell short of acknowledging, challenging and changing these entrenched ideologies of patriotic heterosexuality.

Research limitations/implications

The paper uses Galting’s (1960) and Paul Farmer’s (2009) concept of structural violence and Rich’s (1980) notion of “deadly elasticity of heterosexual assumptions”, to theorise these gender empowerment discourses as constituting and perpetuating violence against queer bodies and subjectivities.

Practical implications

The paper recommends that corporates need to broaden their conceptions of gender and to design and entrench gender discourses that promote gender justice and equality.

Social implications

This inquiry proves Joan Acker’s (2006) and Baker’s (2012) views that inequality and injustice are produced and entrenched in a reciprocal relationship between society and the workplace.

Originality/value

This paper focusses on constructions of gender in organisations. By doing so, it links the observed violence against women and gender binary non-conforming people in society with organisational discourses of gender that perpetuate such violence instead of challenging and changing it so that democracy can be realised for all.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 46 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2020

E. E. Lawrence

The term diverse books is increasingly popular yet persistently nebulous. The purpose of this paper – Part I of II – is to illuminate both that the concept is in need of a…

Abstract

Purpose

The term diverse books is increasingly popular yet persistently nebulous. The purpose of this paper – Part I of II – is to illuminate both that the concept is in need of a unified account and that conceptual analysis, though at first seemingly quite promising, fails as a method for identifying one.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilizes traditional (or intuitive) conceptual analysis to specify the respective clusters of necessary and sufficient conditions that constitute four broad candidate accounts of diverse books.

Findings

Though diverse books is a concept in need of a definition, conceptual analysis is not an appropriate method for adjudicating between the definitions we have on offer. This is because the concept is fundamentally political, serving as a resource for re-shaping collective social arrangements and ways of life. The conceptual problem outlined here requires for its resolution a method that will move us from a descriptive project to an explicitly normative one, wherein we consider what we properly work to achieve with and through the concept in question.

Originality/value

This paper initiates a systematic analytical project aimed at defining diverse books. In illustrating a moment of methodological failure, it paves the way for a critical alternative – namely, Part II's proposal of an analytical intervention in which political concepts are defined partially in terms of their benefits vis-á-vis informational justice.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 76 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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