Gender, the body and organization studies: que(e)rying empirical research

E. De Sousa, Nick Rumens, J. Brewis

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    Even in organization studies scholarship which treats gender as performative and fluid, a certain ‘crystallization’ of gender identities as somehow unproblematic and stable may occur because of our methodological decision-making, and especially our categorization of participants. Mobilizing queer theory as a conceptual lens, in particular Judith Butler’s work on the heterosexual matrix and performativity, we examine this crystallization, suggesting it is based on two implicit assumptions; that gender is a cultural mark over a passive biological body or a base identity ‘layered over’ by other identities (class, race, age etc.). Following Butler, we argue that, to foreground the fluidity and uncertainty of gender categories in our scholarship, it is necessary to understand gender identity as a process of doing and undoing gender which is located very precisely in time and space. Given this perspective on gender identities as complex processes of identification, non-identification and performativity, we offer some pointers on how the methodological decision-making underpinning empirical research on gender, work and organization could and should begin from this premise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)600-613
    JournalGender, Work and Organization
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016


    • body
    • gender
    • empirical research
    • identity
    • Judith Butler
    • organization studies
    • queer theory


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