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Spaces that Matter: Gender In/visibility, Materiality and the Poetics of Organizational Space Melissa Tyler.

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Presentation on theme: "Spaces that Matter: Gender In/visibility, Materiality and the Poetics of Organizational Space Melissa Tyler."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spaces that Matter: Gender In/visibility, Materiality and the Poetics of Organizational Space Melissa Tyler

2 Two moments of auto-ethnography … ‘ Workplaces matter to the ways in which we have to negotiate our gender identities at work ’ (Halford and Leonard, 2006: 54, emphasis added). Reflecting on our own ‘ unprofessional and anti- feminist ’ workspaces. Recognising ourselves in Sofia Hulten ’ s video installation Grey Area.

3 Sofia Hulten ’ s Grey Area

4 Gender performativity, space and organization … Butler ’ s (1988, 1993, 2000, 2004) analysis of the body as a site on which gender is ‘ made to matter ’. Feminist accounts of a feminine mode of embodied spatiality (Gregson and Rose, 2000; Young, 2005). Analyses of organizational space focusing on spatial control and resistance, and more phenomenological approaches to space as ‘ media of meaning construction ’ (Hancock, 2006). Dale ’ s (2005) social materiality of organizational space. Lefevbre ’ s (1991) account of the production of space. Bachelard ’ s (1964) ‘ poetics of space ’.

5 Lefevbre ’ s (1991) spatial trialectics Spatial practice – perceived space (routines and networks). Representations of space – conceived space (planned, divided and engineered space). Representational space – lived space (mediated, inhabited space, lived through symbols and images, dominated but reappropriated, projected space).

6 Researching Grey Areas … Inspired by O ’ Neill ’ s (2002) work on ‘ ethno- mimesis ’ our intention was to use the images to ‘ move ’ respondents. We sought to create a self-reflexive ‘ space ’. University life is characterised by ‘ a range of practices which render women ’ s participation undervalued, unrecognised and marginalized, leading to an overwhelming feeling of Otherness ’ (Ramsay and Letherby, 2006: 26).

7 Living and working in Grey Areas Spatial matters recurred in our group discussions of Hulten ’ s Grey Area and in the interviews that we carried out following these discussions. Although not discrete categories, we describe these recurring themes as: spatial politics, representational spaces, spatial embodiment and the management of spatial boundaries.

8 Spatial politics Spatial constraint/containment. Play/re-appropriation – refusing to be negated. Gendered allocations of space and status. Perceived entitlement to space. In/visibility: spatial negation / over-exposure. ‘ Space invaders ’.

9 Representational Spaces Resistance to institutionalisation. ‘ Bounded re-appropriation ’. The ‘ contained presence ’ of significant others. Performing representational space for others. Performative, ‘ valorised ’ spaces. The research as a ‘ reflexive ’ space.

10 Spatial embodiment Body consciousness in space. Contained/constrained embodiment. Exposure/vulnerability. Presentation/performance of bodies in space.

11 The management of spatial boundaries Fracture/fragmentation. Dislocation – being an outsider/not belonging. Spatial flexibility – surviving on invisibility. Living and working in ‘ grey areas ’.

12 Organizational space as (a) gendered matter … The performance of ‘ representational spaces ’ (Lefebvre, 1991), ‘ valorised ’ (Bachelard, 1964) in accordance with the norms of the heterosexual matrix, driven by the desire for recognition as a viable subject (Butler, 1993, 2000, 2004) and the display of competence in ‘ gender switching ’ (Bruni and Gherardi, 2002). An important but relatively neglected aspect of the organizational materialization of the gendered self is the performance of ‘ spaces that matter ’.

13 Where next? … Time for reflection on the methodology. Developing our analysis of other emergent themes from the group discussions and interviews, including: age, dress, emotions, and the body. More research – men, other settings??

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