Gender, the Body and Organization Studies: Que(e)rying Empirical Research
journal contributionposted on 16.09.2016, 13:40 by Eloisio Moulin de Souza, Jo Brewis, Nick Rumens
Even in organization studies scholarship that 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 — and Judith Butler's work on the heterosexual matrix and performativity in particular — as a conceptual lens, we examine this crystallization, suggesting it is based on two implicit assumptions: that gender is a cultural mark over a passive biological body, or is a base identity ‘layered over’ by other identities (class, race, age etc.). Following Butler, we argue that in order 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 that 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.