Gender, Work and Organization
10th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference
14-16 June, 2018, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia
GWO 2018 Call for Abstracts
Leanne Cutcher, School of Business, University of Sydney, Australia
Karen Dale, Organisation, Work & Technology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, ENGLAND
Philip Hancock, Business School, University of Essex, ENGLAND
Kat Riach, Monash Business School, Monash University, AUSTRALIA
Melissa Tyler, Business School, University of Essex, ENGLAND
The ‘Gendering Recognition’ stream seeks to open up a critical, reflexive discussion of recognition as both an organizational aspiration and as a contested object of ethical and political critique. Organisational life is an important setting within which struggles over recognition are played out; it is also a powerful mechanism through which the desire for recognition becomes gendered.
Recognition theorists such as Butler (2015, Butler and Athanasiou, 2013) have drawn on a long line of critical theorists and feminist thinkers to argue that recognition of our mutual inter-dependency has the potential to affirm the basis of a politics of solidarity, as a medium through which collective ways to address oppression might be devised and developed. Yet, as much as recognition might be thought of as the precondition of a ‘liveable life’ (Butler, 2015: 65), as the basis of freedoms, rights and responsibilities, it can also be a process of exploitation and exclusion, since it depends on who or what confers recognition, as well as the conditions attached to it. Arguably, gender and work are currently organized in such a way that we rarely seek recognition on our own terms, either collectively or individually, opening the way for organizations to capitalize on the vulnerability that our desire to be recognized engenders. Taken together, this means that recognition, no matter how much we might need it, is not in itself an unambiguous ‘good’. For feminist researchers, practitioners and activists, this raises the question of how we can make room for ways of living and working together that challenge prevailing gendered conditions of recognition, including those that demand that we embody and enact gender according to binary, hierarchical norms.
The stream has three inter-related aims: (i) to consider the importance of feminist writing on recognition for work and organization studies, developing some of the theoretical and conceptual inroads that have been made in recent years, particularly in contributions to Gender, Work and Organization; (ii) to connect the critical analysis of recognition to contemporary organizational practices by considering some of the many ways in which recognition might be understood and enacted within organizational life, and (iii) to explore the possibility of a critical reconsideration of recognition given, on the one hand, its positioning as an organizational virtue or aspiration and on the other, feminist critiques of the conditions and consequences attached to it. With these aims in mind, papers that are theoretically, conceptually, methodologically or empirically orientated are very welcome. We particularly welcome contributions to the stream from cross or trans-disciplinary perspectives.
Papers may wish to explore the:
Gendered organization of recognition. Some may focus on the ways in which the organization of infrastructures is inescapably connected to the desire for recognition, and therefore to the organization of social relations. Others might consider the seductive capacities of organizational recognition, or what Povinelli (2002: 17) calls ‘the cunning of recognition’, to entrap us into uncritical, unreflexive ways of being and working together. Others might examine the relationship between individual and more collective forms of recognition, exploring how recognition is currently organized but might done differently in future.
Connections between recognition, ethics, reflexivity and methodology. Methodologically, reflexivity arises from a recognition of the distinction (perhaps dislocation) between lived experiences and compelled subjectivities. Contributions could consider the consequences of conforming to the conditions of recognition, and of the impact on those who cannot, or choose not to, conform. Other contributions might consider ways in which a recognition-based ethics calls into question the discreetness and self-sufficiency of the human condition and of recognition systems. They might explore how organizational misrecognition occurs not simply through identity politics but also status subordination whereby ‘institutions structure interaction according to cultural norms that impede parity of participation’ (Fraser, 2001: 24).
Gendering of recognition and identity. Given the setting of the GWO 2018 conference, papers exploring gendering recognition through a historical, political or (post)colonial lens are also welcome. Citing a 1958 essay, ‘Continuity and Change’ by anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner’s reflections on whether indigenous people in Australia should assimilate into mainstream settler society, Povinelli (2002) notes a poignant line: ‘Suppose they do not know how to cease to be themselves’ (cited in Povinelli, 2002: 1). Povinelli (2002: 29) responds to Stanner by asking: ‘Suppose they do not know how to be themselves. Suppose your life depends on being able to perform this ontological trick’. We cite this response as a way in to thinking about themes that are central to this stream, namely that being called upon to perform the kind of ‘ontological trick’ to which Povinelli refers, puts the subject at risk, when we can neither be, or cease to be, ourselves.
Abstracts of approximately 500 words (ONE page, Word document NOT PDF, single spaced, excluding references, no header, footers or track changes) are invited by 1st November 2017 with decisions on acceptance to be made by stream leaders within one month. All abstracts will be peer reviewed. New and young scholars with 'work in progress' papers are welcomed. Papers can be theoretical or theoretically informed empirical work. In the case of co-authored papers, ONE person should be identified as the corresponding author. Due to restrictions of space on the conference schedule, multiple submissions by the same author will not be timetabled. Please submit abstracts through the conference abstract portal at https://www.mq.edu.au/events/gwosydney
Butler, J. (2015) Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Butler, J. and Athanasiou, A. (2013) Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. Cambridge: Polity.
Fraser, N. (2001) ‘Recognition without ethics?’, Theory, Culture & Society. 18(2-3): 21-42.
Povinelli, E. (2002) The Cunning of Recognition. London: Duke University Press.
Stanner, W.E.H. (1958) White Man Got No Dreaming. Canberra: Australian National University Press
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