Call for papers: Gender Work and Organization Journal

Please consider submitting your papers for a Special Issue on ‘Gender, Bodies and Identities in Organization: Postcolonial Critiques’, that Andri Georgiadou, Beverly Dawn Metcalfe, Niki Dickerson von Lockette, Dimitria Groutsis and Banu Ozkazanc-Pan are editing.

Deadline October 30th, 2019

This special issue aims to foster a discussion about the mutual entanglement of gender, embodiment and identity in organizations and the emergent theoretical directions and approaches that challenge this entanglement and disentanglement. Accordingly, we seek to advance the field and provide a foundational resource for future scholars. The call is therefore directed to those who want to explore the embodiment of gender from a broad range of different disciplines and theoretical perspectives with the common aim of approaching the body both as a site for transgressive encounters and as actively participating and shaping such encounters. Our focus is also transnational and seeks to explore the complexities of embodiment and identity beyond a western space and lens

In critical debates related to work and organization the human body is considered and discussed as the site of the labor-force. However, there are other layers of the body that deserve to be explored in-depth. Social scientists have conceptualized the body as a project individuals work on and alter as a means of identity construction and reconstruction (Butler, 1990; 1993; Dale, 2001; Shilling, 2017). Furthermore, the body has largely been treated as a medium that helps people explore and experience the world (Monaghan, 2002). One’s perception of their body is considered interdependent with social relationships and control factors that constrain this perception of one’s body in conformity with socio-cultural ideals, models and normative as well as moral accounts (Thompson and Hirschman, 1995; Dale, 2005). Construction of the body and the associated body image therefore embodies a process of socialization. This becomes a means of signifying one’s self-worth and status in the presentation of the self and in social relationships and lifestyles, and also in the exertion of control over one’s self (Thompson and Hirschman, 1995).

We agree with the feminist critique of the mind-body split and its dualistic counterparts: male/female, culture/nature, public/private, human/animal and as such we seek to counterbalance and transgress this bifurcation informing scientific explanations and disciplinary boundaries. The body has become a veritable hot spot, marking itself as a boundary concept that forcefully disrupts established disciplinary identities and fields of investigation. The body is also a locus where nature and culture meet, and it refuses to accommodate any easy distinction between these two terms. Instead, the very presence of the body demands a radical rethinking of the meaning of both nature and culture (Shiling, 2017).

Bodies make themselves present at the very core of a range of different embodied phenomena, such as emotions, desires, identity, and agency (Warhust and Nickson 2009; Simpson and Pullen, 2018). Embodiment in its most simple understanding means the lived experience of human beings, an experience which always bridges “the mind” and “the body”, “the natural” and “the cultural”. Embodied beings are never determined only by their material, or by their social and cultural conditions, but at the same time they are never fully unbound or completely elastic. The historical and spatial differences, changes and stabilities in how bodies and embodiment are perceived and understood, therefore provides insight into both the potentials and constraints of future body theory.

Women’s bodies in organizations have been framed as problematic. Gatrell (2011) has illustrated the public hostility toward breastfeeding women at work, similarly Haynes (2012) argues that notions of physical capital remain highly gendered in professional services firms, with implications for equality and diversity in professional work. However, the ‘active’   body has largely been represented in the literature from a Western perspective: based on western forms of bodies, bodily experiences and embodiment (see for example Brewis and Sinclair, 2000; Hall et al., 2007; Monaghan, 2002; Oerton, 2004; Simpson and Pullen, 2018). Likewise, these writings largely present white colonial interpretations and do not consider the multiplicity of embodied forms (Metcalfe and Woodhams, 2012). In this vein, these insights do not provide explanations of embodiment in diverse geographical and cultural spaces including Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia for instance.

Our concern then is that the substantive literature is ‘colonizing’ bodily accounts, thus leaving the ‘subaltern’ and ‘othered’ identities in the shadows (Spivak and Harasym, 2014; Liu, 2017). Further, ideas of whiteness and the power effects of space and belonging remain under theorized. There is a need therefore for studies to explore bodily processes as part of colonization. Feminist postcolonial accounts of bodily experiences, desires and action and the politics of resistance provide a promising avenue of enquiry for GWO scholars.

In light of this, we invite theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions that explore the lived embodiment of workers and managers, teasing out how gendered embodiment affects bodily feelings and relational and organizational experiences at work, and how the body constitutes an active medium of work, management and organization. Contributions from different fields are welcomed. We also encourage an interdisciplinary approach, acknowledging that gendered embodiment has numerous intellectual roots and allies. The following issues are indicative, but not exhaustive, of our field of focus:

  • Globalization, territories and borders and the lived embodiment and bodily experiences of people at work and in organizations.
  • Migration and the sense of ‘being’ in the world, through spatiality, embodiment and groundedness in place.
  • Critical accounts of embodiment including feminist postcolonial accounts, Marxist humanist or social revolutionary dynamics of the spatiality of embodiments.
  • Spatiality as territory: how does the inner activity of the body transcend to the external environment.
  • Colonization, decoloniality and forms of embodiment.
  • Dress, fashion and intersections with bodily practices.
  • How organizations marginalize qualities and aspects of embodiment associated with women.
  • Affect and the material circumstances that compel or constrain embodied gender performativity.
  • The gendered division of labor and its relationship to embodiment as the materiality of gender subjectivity.
  • How various forms of transgender embodiment intersect with other forms of bodily, socio-corporeal and socio-demographic difference, including race, sexuality, age and (dis) ability.
  • The social construction of transgender in the institutional arrangements of organizations, industries and fields.
  • The bodily techniques and practices that employees and managers mobilize in expressing – or hiding- (trans) gender.

Deadline for submission of full papers: October 30th, 2019

Manuscripts should be around 9,000 words. Manuscripts considered for publication will be peer-reviewed following the journal’s double-blind review process. Submissions should be made via the journal’s Scholar One Manuscript Central at: Author guidelines can be found at the journal’s website at:

Further enquiries about the special issue should be directed to: Andri Georgiadou (, Beverly Dawn Metcalfe (, Niki Dickerson von Lockette (, Dimitria Groutsis (,  Banu Ozkazanc-Pan (


Brewis, J. & Sinclair, J. (2000). Exploring embodiment: women, biology and work. In Hassard, J., Holliday, R. and Willmott, H. (eds) Body and Organization (pp. 192–214). London: Sage.

Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of gender. London: Routledge.

Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of sex. London: Routledge.

Dale, K. (2005). Building a Social Materiality: Spatial and Embodied Politics in Organizational Control, Organization, 12(5).

Dale, K. (2001). Anatomising embodiment and organisation theory Basingstoke. London: Palgrave.  

Gatrell, C. (2011). Policy and the pregnant body at work: Strategies of secrecy, silence and supra‐performance. Gender, Work & Organization, 18(2), 158-181.

Hall, A., Hockey, J., & Robinson, V. (2007). Occupational cultures and the embodiment of masculinity: Hairdressing, estate agency and firefighting. Gender, Work & Organization, 14(6), 534-551.

Haynes, K. (2012). Body beautiful? Gender, identity and the body in professional services firms. Gender, Work & Organization, 19(5), 489-507.

Liu H, (2017). Undoing Whiteness: The Dao of Anti‐racist Diversity Practice. Gender Work and Organization, 24(5), 451-563.

Metcalfe, B. D., & Woodhams, C. (2012). Introduction: New Directions in Gender, Diversity and Organization Theorizing–Re‐imagining Feminist Post‐colonialism, Transnationalism and Geographies of Power. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(2), 123-140.

Monaghan, L. F. (2002). Embodying gender, work and organization: solidarity, cool loyalties and contested hierarchy in a masculinist occupation. Gender, Work & Organization, 9(5), 504-536.

Oerton, S. (2004). Bodywork boundaries: power, politics and professionalism in therapeutic massage. Gender, Work & Organization, 11,5, 544–65.

Shilling, C. (2017). Body pedagogics: Embodiment, cognition and cultural transmission. Sociology, 51(6), 1205-1221.

Simpson, R., & Pullen, A. (2018). ‘Cool’ Meanings: Tattoo Artists, Body Work and Organizational ‘Bodyscape’. Work, Employment and Society, 32(1), 169-185.

Spivak, G. C., & Harasym, S. (2014). The post-colonial critic: Interviews, strategies, dialogues. London: Routledge.

Thompson, C. J., & Hirschman, E. C. (1995). Understanding the socialized body: A poststructuralist analysis of consumers’ self-conceptions, body images, and self-care practices. Journal of consumer research, 22(2), 139-153.

Warhurst, C., and Nickson, D. (2009). Who’s got the look? Emotional, aesthetic and sexualized labour in interactive service work. Gender, Work and Organization, 16(3): 385– 404.