Critical discriminations, critical oppressions … Critical MANagement Studies?
An event organized by VIDA, the Critical Management Studies Women’s Association
FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool L1 4DQ, UK
Sunday 2nd July 2017, 3–6 pm
“[U]niversities are particularly hard institutions to do diversity and equality work [in] because academics tend to think of themselves as “critical subjects,” and thus tend not to see themselves as part of a problem” (Ahmed, 2013).
This event is being organized at a time when we know that many CMS academics from all over the world will be in Liverpool, but it is not a CMS2017 conference event and you do not need to be a CMS2017 delegate to attend. It is inspired by our experiences as a group of CMS academics – VIDA - who identify as women, non-binary or gender non-conforming.
On our Facebook page we have been discussing many of these experiences. One collection of issues that keeps recurring includes:
· how cismen who consider themselves CMS researchers all too often treat colleagues who are not cismen;
· the kinds of academic labour that are valued within CMS – and, more significantly, those that are not;
· manels at CMS conferences and workshops; and
· gender-exclusive curricula, reading lists and citation practices in critical management pedagogy and research.
These behaviours, practices and processes take many guises and happen in many places and spaces. They are enacted and reproduced by CMS academics (including ciswomen) whose writing - even activism - critiques precisely such behaviours, practices and processes. For us, Sara Ahmed’s term ‘critical sexism’ captures this collection of things perfectly. She defines it as follows: “the sexism reproduced by those who think of themselves as too critical to reproduce sexism. Critical sexism is not that different to uncritical sexism, then.” (Ahmed, 2015: 11). An alternative, used elsewhere, is the notion of ‘brocialism’, which refers to men who are “so in love with [their] own progressiveness or radicalness [they are] convinced [they] can do no wrong. This extends to being a sexist jerk”.
Importantly, Ahmed (2012: 212) has also written on critical racism, which she describes as the “racism produced by critical subjects who do not see the reproduction because of their self-assumed criticality”. Similar sorts of oppressive and discriminatory reproductions seem to us to be at work in CMS around ageism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and colonialism, at minimum. And these discriminations and oppressions of course also intersect with and exacerbate each other.
We want to use the event as a space in which we can discuss experiences of these critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS. The format will be confirmed as we draw nearer to the event itself, but the preliminary format is as follows:
1. A short welcome and introduction to the event, including contributions from VIDA members about their own experiences of critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS.
2. Break-out discussions in small groups for more consideration.
3. No one will be asked to share the names of the people they are talking about (or indeed to share their experiences at all if they feel uncomfortable in doing so).
4. In the last part of the event we will come back together to discuss how we can tackle critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS as a collective.
5. We will offer everyone the opportunity to contribute an anonymized record of their experiences afterwards, but this is entirely voluntary. As Sara Ahmed suggests,
“To name something as sexist is already to begin building an archive: we are gathering different events, situations, incidents together through using this word. We are picking things up. What are we gathering? An archive of sexism might be an ‘archive of feelings’ to borrow Ann Cvetkovich’s expression, we are building an archive from how we are affected by something.” (2015: 10)
6. The discussion element of the event will take a maximum of two hours, followed by a social. Refreshments will be provided.
The event is free to attend, but you will need to pre-register as we have an upper limit of 40 people and we need to book refreshments in advance. Please contact Jo Brewis (email@example.com) and Sarah Gilmore (S.Gilmore2@exeter.ac.uk) to register or with any queries. Attendance is limited to those who identify as women and non-binary or gender non-conforming. The venue is a short walk from the Adelphi Hotel where CMS2017 is being held, and is easily accessible on foot from both Liverpool Central and Liverpool Lime Street train stations.
“Because after all to name something as sexist is not only to name something that happens as part of a wider system (to refuse to give what happens the status of an exceptional event), but it is also to give an account of that something as being wrong and unjustifiable. To name something as sexist is not only to modify a relation by modifying our understanding of that relation; it is also to insist that further modification is required. When we say ‘that’s sexist,’ we are saying ‘no’ to that, as well as ‘no’ to the world that renders such speech or behaviour permissible …” (Ahmed, 2015: 9)
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