Queering Queer Theory in Management and Organization Studies: Notes toward queering heterosexuality

Rumens, Nick; de Souza, Eloisio Moulin and Brewis, Jo (2019). Queering Queer Theory in Management and Organization Studies: Notes toward queering heterosexuality. Organization Studies, 40(4) pp. 593–612.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840617748904


This article suggests new possibilities for queer theory in management and organization studies. Management and organization studies has tended to use queer theory as a conceptual resource for studying the workplace experience of ‘minorities’ such as gay men, lesbians and those identifying as bisexual or transgender, often focusing on how heteronormativity shapes the discursive constitution of sexualities and genders coded as such. This deployment is crucial and apposite but it can limit the analytical reach of queer theory, neglecting other objects of analysis like heterosexuality. Potentially, MOS queer theory scholarship could be vulnerable to criticism about overlooking queer theory as a productive site for acknowledging both heterosexuality’s coercive aspects and its non-normative forms. The principal contribution of our article is therefore twofold. First, it proposes a queering of queer theory in management and organization studies, whereby scholars are alert to and question the potential normativities that such research can produce, opening up a space for exploring how heterosexuality can be queered. Second, we show how queering heterosexuality can be another site where queer theory and politics come together in the management and organization studies field, through a shared attempt to undermine sexual and gender binaries and challenge normative social relations. The article concludes by outlining the political implications of queering heterosexuality for generating modes of organizing in which heterosexuality can be experienced as non-normative and how this might rupture and dismantle heteronormativity.

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