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Beyond the RapistTitle IX and Sexual Violence on US Campuses$
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Kate Lockwood Harris

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190876920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190876920.001.0001

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Agency organizes violence

Agency organizes violence

Raced and gendered boundary-making practices for (non)human and discursive force

Chapter:
(p.88) 4 Agency organizes violence
Source:
Beyond the Rapist
Author(s):

Kate Lockwood Harris

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190876920.003.0004

As part of a material turn, organizational scholars increasingly pay attention to nonhuman agents, the things and stuff of organizing. These nonhuman agents are often discussed without consideration of difference. To encourage a more nuanced conversation about agency and the human/nonhuman divide, this chapter analyzes PRU’s boundary-making practices—the organization’s continuous decisions about who or what can act, especially in violent ways. It shows that these practices are gendered, raced, and sexualized, and they emerge as such while PRU members grapple with Title IX reporting processes. Importantly, statements and texts about violence—both forms of discourse—are considered to be agentic when they uphold whiteness. In contrast, their capacity to act is minimized when they challenge systemic racism or identify patterns of violence. Though some scholars are concerned that discourse has become too muscular, this chapter shows that the agency of discourse—when considered in proximity to Title IX and sexual violence—is far from uniformly too forceful. Drawing on scholarship rarely read among organizational scholars, this chapter issues a caution: Theories that minimize the supposedly bulging biceps of discourse may keep a violent status quo in place.

Keywords:   agency, nonhuman, boundary-making practices, organized whiteness, disclosure, gossip, listening, distributed agency, muscular discourse

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