Gendering the research self

Social practice and corporeal multiplicity in the writing of organizational research

Alison Pullen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the problems inherent in taking a reflexively gendered position in writing research accounts. Such socially constructed accounts typically require researchers to do one of two things: to suppress the feminine and write implicitly as male, or to adopt a textual position as 'woman' that fails to do justice to the complex and unstable multiplicity that underpins the research self. It is argued that this shifting multiplicity is stabilized by the relationship between self and research text being corporeally grounded and gendered in practice. Three possible approaches to gender are considered: the discursive/textual approach (as developed by Foucault); the performance/social practice approach (as developed by Judith Butler) and the corporeal multiplicity approach (as developed by Elizabeth Grosz and Dorothea Olkowski). The article concludes by suggesting a tripartite approach to writing self-multiplicity in research to extend the possibilities opened up by the social practice approach: re-citing (redeploying discursive resources in intertextuality); re-siting (changing the positioning of the self in power relations by reinscribing) and re-sighting (opening up new, virtual visions of possibility).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-298
Number of pages22
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Identity
  • Qualitative research
  • Self
  • Social practice

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