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Title: Management in/as comic relief : queer theory and gender performativity in The Office
Authors: Tyler, Melissa
Cohen, Laurie
Keywords: The Office
Queer theory
Judith Butler
Gender performativity
Parody
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: © Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Citation: COHEN, L., 2008. Management in/as comic relief : queer theory and gender performativity in The Office. Gender, Work and Organization, 15 (2), pp. 113-132
Abstract: Our discussion here focuses on gender performativity — the evocation of gender through stylized modes of interaction and the recitation of particular cultural norms — in the BBC comedy series The Office. We suggest that The Office can be read as a cultural text that brings sedimented ways of thinking about and enacting gender into relief, a technique that effectively ‘queers’ management and organization as gendered phenomena. In doing so, we argue that not only does The Office parody the ways in which management is configured according to the terms of what Judith Butler has described as the ‘heterosexual matrix’, but that it also represents a parodic critique of the gendered ways in which this configuration is enacted in everyday organizational encounters. We also suggest that, in addition to its capacity to be read as a parody of gender performativity, The Office reflects queer theory’s concern, particularly as the latter has been articulated in Butler’s writing, to reveal something of the pathos inherent in the desire for recognition that underpins the hegemonic performance of gender. In this respect, our reading of The Office emphasizes that, as a popular cultural text, it throws into (comic) relief the extent to which the desire for recognition underpins the organizational performance and management of gender in accordance with the terms of the heterosexual matrix.
Description: This article is Restricted Access. It was published in the journal, Gender, Work and Organization [© Blackwell Publishing Ltd] and is available at: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117990217/home
Version: Restricted access
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2007.00351.x
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/4135
ISSN: 0968-6673
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Business School)

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