Negotiating selves: Gender at Work

Barbara Czarniawska


This paper suggests that the framing of gender production in workplaces is a negotiation with varying results. The basis for this frame is a combination of the notions of "positioning" (the discoursive production of selves, as suggested by Davies and Harré, 1990), "doing gender" (gender as an accomplishment, an achieved property of situated conduct: West and Zimmerman, 1987), "negotiation of identities" (which takes place when positioning is contested: Pavlenko and Blackledge, 2004) and "coercive gendering" (ascribing gender to people through discriminatory action: Czarniawska, 2006). A distinction is made between a self-positioning and an attributive positioning; the focus is on their interplay. Using examples from the field, the paper then reviews varying outcomes of such negotiations in workplaces. Although the examples concern gender, the same frame can be successively applied to various instances of intersectionality.

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