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Handbook of Gender, Work, and Organization by Patricia Yancey Martin, David Knights,, Emma L Jeanes

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Section One

Histories and Philosophies of Gender, Work and Organization

Editorial Introduction

To understand gender, work and organization we first explore the philosophical and methodological approaches that characterise this field. Inevitably this review cannot be exhaustive yet the following chapters demonstrate much of the key thinking that represents the field at the current time. They employ feminist theorising, drawing on sociological and philosophical approaches, and propose methods with which to explore gender in the context of work and organization. In contrasting perspectives, a sense of the field and historical developments in approaches are reviewed. Certain themes run through these chapters, namely power and the striving for resistance and transgression; the personal, lived, embodied understandings of gender; gender as a doing or undoing, not a being; gender that is socially situated; and the narration of that experience.

These chapters expose the ‘apparent’ gender neutrality of organizations and organizing and demonstrate the embedded nature of gender in these structures and practices. Understanding gender as embedded in everyday actions owes much to the seminal article of West and Zimmerman (1987) which itself can be seen to develop from one of the most cited statements in the field of gender, ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’ (De Beauvoir, 1993 [1949]: 281). Gender is socially situated, constructed, performative and embodied; it is the doing rather ...

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