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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 April 2021

An organization’s relationship to violence

An organization’s relationship to violence

Reading communication and agency through feminist new materialism

(p.21) 2 An organization’s relationship to violence
(p.iii) Beyond the Rapist

Kate Lockwood Harris

Oxford University Press

Two sets of assumptions—ones about communication and ones about agency—shape debates over the violence–organization relationship. When scholars and laypersons suggest that words are mere symbols that represent the world and correspond to things in it, communication remains a way to describe violence. Under this representationalist line of thinking, communication is split from the material world and cannot do harm. Similarly, when people assume that agency is a human’s intentional decision about how to act, the broader processes that inform action fade from view. An individual perpetrator becomes the sole violent actor. Both sets of assumptions make it difficult to conceptualize an organization’s role in violence. This chapter relies on feminist new materialism to problematize these assumptions. After providing an overview of the theory’s distinctive features, the chapter shows its resonances with existing scholarship on communication, agency, and organizations. These resonances provide a framework for understanding organizations to be more than mere sites for violence.

Keywords:   organization–violence relationship, communication, agency, feminist new materialism, nonhuman, social construction, discourse, materiality, representationalism

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