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Just doing gender? Transvestism and the power of underdoing gender in everyday life and work
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, Fashion Studies.
2016 (English)In: Organization, ISSN 1350-5084, E-ISSN 1461-7323, Vol. 23, no 2, 250-271 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While previous research in organization studies has utilized transgender to show how gender is done, overdone and undone, this literature lacks empirical grounding, and the theoretical arguments dominating it tend to idealize the transgressive power of transgender while reducing transgender to hyperbolic drag and stereotypical passing. To further advance the understanding of transgender within and around organizations, this article presents a qualitative study from a Northern European country to investigate how male-to-female transvestites do and undo gender in everyday life and work. In contrast to extant research, we found that participants did transgender and undid gender by underdoing gender, that is, by combining feminine, masculine and ungendered practices and attributes in ways that made passing and drag insignificant. As transvestites simultaneously expressed masculine and feminine forms of embodiment, we argue that they may more obviously challenge, though not dismantle, dominant forms of gender and identity than suggested by previous accounts. We conclude by discussing broader implications for the understanding of gender, identity, power and resistance in organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 23, no 2, 250-271 p.
Keyword [en]
Passing, power, resistance, stigmatized identities at work, transgender, undoing gender
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration; Fashion Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101903DOI: 10.1177/1350508414547559ISI: 000371167900006OAI: diva2:770890
Available from: 2014-12-11 Created: 2014-03-17 Last updated: 2016-03-30Bibliographically approved

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Thanem, TorkildWallenberg, Louise
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