Towards a queer politics and ethics within organization studies

Authored by: Nick Rumens , Melissa Tyler

The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415821261
eBook ISBN: 9780203566848
Adobe ISBN: 9781136746246


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Since the early 1990s, queer theory’s entrance into academic discourse has triggered a wave of queer-inspired scholarship that has surged far beyond its origins in the humanities, with queer theory finally reaching the outer edges of organization studies in the early 2000s. Fournier and Grey (2000) were one of the first to cite queer theory as one of the more important yet underdeveloped theoretical contributors to critical management studies in their much-cited paper mapping out the central tenets and concerns of the latter. Yet despite some notable contributions to the organization studies literature on queer theory considered throughout this chapter (Parker, 2001, 2002a; Harding et al., 2011; Hodgson, 2005; Rumens, 2011, 2012; Tyler and Cohen, 2008), sustained engagements with queer theory within organization studies have, to date, been relatively few and far between. Equally, while arguably a critique of the organizing imperatives of heteronormativity, especially in and through the reproduction of sexual (heterosexual/homosexual) and gender (masculine/feminine) binaries and their constraining effects, queer theory itself has yet to give any serious and sustained consideration to processes and practices of organization. This failed rendezvous represents a missed opportunity for organization studies scholars and queer theorists alike to challenge what is taken-for-granted within organizations or, as queer theorist David Halperin (2003: 343) puts it, to ‘help us think what has not yet been thought’.

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