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Towards a performative theory of resistance : senior managers and revolting subject(ivitie)s.

Harding, N. and Ford, J. and Lee, H. (2017) 'Towards a performative theory of resistance : senior managers and revolting subject(ivitie)s.', Organization studies., 38 (9). pp. 1209-1232.


This article develops a performative theory of resistance. It uses Judith Butler’s and Karen Barad’s theories of performativity to explore how resistance (to organizational strategies and policies) and resistants (those who resist such strategies and policies) co-emerge, within and through complex intra-actions of entangled discourses, materialities, affect and space/time. The article uses empirical materials from a case study of the implementation of a talent management strategy. We analyse interviews with the senior managers charged with implementing the strategy, the influence of material, non-sentient actors, and the experiences of the researchers when carrying out the interviews. This leads to a theory that resistance and resistants emerge in moment-to-moment co-constitutive moves that may be invoked when identity or self is put in jeopardy. Resistance, we suggest, is the power (residing with resistants) to say ‘no’ to organizational requirements that would otherwise threaten to render the self abject.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:Harding, N., Ford, J. & Lee, H. (2017). Towards a performative theory of resistance: Senior managers and revolting subject(ivitie)s. Organization Studies 38(9): 1209-1232. Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Date accepted:14 August 2016
Date deposited:01 November 2017
Date of first online publication:02 February 2017
Date first made open access:01 November 2017

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