Towards a performative understanding of deservingness: merit, gender and the BBC pay dispute

Kumra, Savita, Lewis, Patricia, Rumens, Nick and Simpson, Ruth ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Towards a performative understanding of deservingness: merit, gender and the BBC pay dispute. Gender, Work and Organization, 27 (2) . pp. 181-197. ISSN 0968-6673 [Article] (doi:10.1111/gwao.12397)

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Drawing largely on a high profile case of unequal pay at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as an illustrative example, this conceptual paper considers differences and interrelationships between merit and deservingness, where the latter captures how, through appropriate performances, merit is given recognition and value. We propose a performative understanding of deservingness that highlights its gendered and embodied dimensions. Informed by Judith Butler's account of gender performativity, we show that, while merit is conventionally conceptualized as a relatively fixed set of attributes (qualifications, skill) ‘attached' to the individual, deservingness captures how, in gendered terms, value and recognition are both claimed and conferred. As we argue, a gendered, deserving subject does not pre‐exist but is performatively constituted through embodied practices and performances of what is seen as worthy in a particular time and place.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Gender Studies
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Diversity and Gender group
Item ID: 26909
Notes on copyright: Published article: © 2019 The Authors Gender, Work & Organization Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2019 07:59
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2021 00:57

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