Organizing feminism : Bodies, practices and ethics

Publié le 6 septembre par Equipe GIS IdG

Guest Editors :

Emma Bell (Keele University, UK)
Susan Meriläinen (University of Lapland, Finland)
Scott Taylor (University of Birmingham, UK) and
Janne Tienari (Aalto University, Finland)

Submission deadline : 30 November 2016 ; papers should not be submitted before 1 November 2016

The purpose of this special issue is to provide an intellectual space in which to explore recent important developments in feminist organization and scholarship. Walby’s (2011) observation that feminist theory and activism develop in a spiral leads her to suggest that we are in the midst of a historically significant fourth feminist ’circuit’. This putative ’fourth wave’ (Munro, 2013) is distinctive in range of ways. It is both more present, especially through the use of social media, and less visible, in that activism is happening within organizations. It appears as less of a social movement of outsiders engaged in protests against holders of organizational and institutionalised power and instead is often practised inside existing organizational contexts, such as workplaces or policymaking arenas.

This feminist activity is coupled with a growing recognition that feminist perspectives on gender equality need not be framed exclusively from Western democratic perspectives – non-Western, non-capitalist, non-democratic feminisms may exist and develop from radically different cultural and economic roots (Hemmings, 2011). Postcolonial and Third World feminisms offer critical theoretical frameworks that go beyond the limitations that come from one’s location in a particular place at a particular moment in history and the experience derived from this (e.g. Mohanty 2003 ; Weedon 2002). Furthermore, transnational feminism maintains that globalization has created the conditions for feminist solidarity across national borders that is grounded in the political commitments of individuals or groups, such as the commitment to challenge injustice (e.g. anti-globalist networks, such as worker-owned cooperatives or fair trade organizations) (Ferguson, 2009). This may therefore be the start of a new chapter or an entirely new plot for feminist narratives.

This is happening in the context of persistent sex-based inequalities and gendered discrimination in organizations, whether in the form of gender pay gaps, even in nation states with directive legislation, and under-representation of women in professions, elites and political institutions. Intensified neoliberal politics and economics have particular effects on women’s experience of work and organization (Meriläinen et al., 2015) through the incursion of a market-based discourse of diversity and embodied entrepreneurialism (Kenny and Bell, 2014). The maintenance of gender inequality also encompasses moves to re-domesticate women through attacks on maternalism (Littler, 2013) and the objectified sexualisation of women in advertising and in social media.

In this context it is unsurprising that there is a new iteration of feminist activism and theory. The current moment does not signal ’the end of feminism ; it is rather a new set of forms of its practice’ (Walby, 2011 : 79) that generates renewed social and political discussion of its aims and activities (Munro, 2013). Information technologies, especially when used as a basis for network organizing, have also been significant in bringing feminism back to prominence (Penny, 2014). This includes online feminist activism, such as the ’Everyday Sexism’ campaign (Bates, 2014), which demonstrates that gender discrimination continues to be a near-universal experience for women in workplaces. However, the Internet has also given rise to the virtual organization of misogyny and the anonymous articulation of sexism (Walter, 2010), presenting new challenges to feminist theory and practice.

In keeping with the aims of Human Relations, we seek contributions for this special issue that explore relations between feminist theory and social practice in organizations and organizing, from grassroots activism to engagement with global politics. We expect contributions to build on the rich tradition of feminist theorizing in organization studies (Calás and Smircich, 1996 ; 2009), including recent contributions that explore the potential of postfeminist (Lewis, 2014) and poststructuralist, including psychoanalytic, feminist theory (Fotaki and Harding, 2013 ; Vachhani, 2012). We also welcome contributions from a wide range of other interdisciplinary and international perspectives.

We invite contributors to consider the following indicative themes :

  • Bodies. We welcome empirical evidence and theorizing on the distinct materiality of embodied experiences of the workplace. While materiality and the body have mainly been perceived as constructs of discourse in earlier feminist theorizing, we seek to encourage contributions that discuss materiality of the body as itself an active force, focusing on the agency of lived experiential bodies. Such a framework avoids biological materialism that disregards the effects of culture, on the one hand, and cultural determinism that neglects the corporeal body, on the other.
  • Practices. We encourage contributions from scholars who analyse the different contents (causes fought for) and forms (ways of organizing) feminist activism in contemporary workplaces and policy settings. We also invite scholarship that aims to specify forms of interplay between feminist theorizing and political activism in and across organizations.
  • Ethics. We invite new empirical evidence and theorizing on connections between contemporary feminisms and different forms of workplace ethics, such as moralities based on an ethic of care, to invite scholars to consider the relatedness that constitutes social organization and the organization of social groups.

Contributors should note :

  • This call is open and competitive, and the submitted papers will be double-blind reviewed by experienced scholars in the field.
  • Submitted papers must be based on original material not accepted by, or under consideration for publication with, any other journal or outlet.
  • For empirical papers based on data sets from which multiple papers have been generated, authors must provide the guest editors with copies of all other papers based on the same data to ensure a unique intellectual contribution is being made.
  • The guest editors will select a limited number of papers to be included in the special issue. Other papers submitted to the special issue may be considered for publication in other issues of the journal at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.
  • To be considered for this Special Issue, submissions must fit with the Aim and Scope of Human Relations as well as the call for papers.
  • Papers should also adhere to the submission requirements.
  • Papers should be submitted through the online system
  • Please indicate in your covering letter that your article is intended for this special issue.

The guest editors of this special issue would be happy to be contacted directly with queries relating to potential submissions :

  • Emma Bell –
  • Susan Meriläinen –
  • Scott Taylor –
  • Janne Tienari –

- Please direct questions about the submission process, or any administrative matter, to the Editorial Office :