Embodying Transgender in Studies of Gender, Work, and Organization
Some years ago I was in a meeting with a group of senior business school colleagues planning learning activities for the coming term’s seminars of an undergraduate course. One of the learning activities involved students doing a role play of a television panel discussion to engage with the issue of corporate social responsibility. While there were few restrictions governing the format of the role play, the professor in charge of the course asserted: ‘But I don’t want them to get carried away and turn this into a drag show!’ While I don’t think he meant this in a derogatory manner, it was made obvious that the world of drag was utterly separate from the world of business, work, and organizations. And nor did I dare, back then, to question his reasoning or to mention my own cross-dressing.
During the past couple of decades gender has become an established field in the study of work and organization. While research in this field tends to focus on the social aspects of gender in work organizations, recent studies have directed attention at the bodily aspects of gender. Informed by poststructuralist (e.g. Foucault, 1977; 1979) and feminist theory (e.g. Butler, 1990; 1993) in particular, research in this area has tended to focus on the gendered body as an object of discursive construction and disciplinary control in work organizations. For ...