• Lacan and sexual difference in organization and management theory: Towards a hysterical academy?

      Fotaki, M.; Harding, Nancy H. (2013)
      The recent turn to Lacan’s work in critically-oriented Organization and Management Theory signals a welcome focus on one of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers. This article introduces Lacan’s thesis on gender, making a case for its importance for understanding organizations. We discuss two contrasting receptions to Lacan’s Seminar XX, from pro- and anti-Lacanian feminists, offer our own interpretation which can be summed up as a Lacanian inspired parody of the phallic signifier, and argue that Lacanian theorists should turn Lacan’s ideas back upon them/ourselves to question critically our own positions. Further we review Lacan’s seminar XVII and its analysis of four dominant discourses—the university, the master, the hysteric and the analyst. The advantages of the discourse of the hysteric for a Lacanian politics of gender, enabling us to undo our arguments from outside of our own gender and identity, are then identified. We thus advocate conceptual and empathetic (hysterical) bisexuality for critical scholarship within organization studies that already, perhaps unawares, is hysterical. This allows us to avoid, as much as possible, slipping into the frozen and sterile discourse of the master.
    • On being at work: the social construction of the employee

      Harding, Nancy H. (2013)
      Inspired by the work of the philosopher Judith Butler, influenced by Marx’s theory of alienation and intrigued by theories of death, this book develops an anti-methodological approach to studying working lives. Distinctions are drawn between labour (the tasks we do in our jobs) and work (self-making activities that are carried out at the workplace): between the less than human, zombie-like laborer and the working human self. Nancy Harding argues that the experience of being at work is one in which the insistence on practising one’s humanity always provides a counter-point to organisational demands.