A discursive approach to embedded gender relations in (Swedish) global restructuring

Nikki C Townsley, Purdue University


In this research, I apply a discourse-centered approach to the study of embedded gender relations in global restructuring. I identify the multiple discourses that frame particular organizational practices of an efficiency program and resultant competency development program for redundant workers who were laid off as a result of restructuring. In general, I found that contemporary discourses such as globalization and post-Fordism fail to accurately meet the situation of global restructuring as it is played out in concrete, gendered organizational practice and individual work lives. Instead, I demonstrate how these discourses are fraught with ironies and contradictions that contribute to the reproduction of traditional gendered relationships within these contexts of rapid organizational change. The main contribution comes from my ironic analysis that reveals the discursive spaces, most especially the discourse of competency, where normative, gendered meanings and organizational practices are disrupted and power interests temporarily exposed. These implications are consistent with the overarching theoretical framework of feminist poststructuralism that seeks areas and strategies for change within socially and historically situated discursive relationships, as well as the discursive framework that foregrounds tensions and irony. ^




Major Professors: Patricia Buzzanell, Purdue University, Cynthia Stohl, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Speech Communication|Education, Special

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