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Albert J. Mills and Jean Helms Mills

In this chapter we argue that it is important to study the role of history in current practices of gender differences. In particular we are interested in understanding how discriminatory practices develop, are maintained and change over time, and how these processes influence current relationships. We begin with a brief outline of the importance of studying past events and their role in shaping discriminatory ideas and practices. We then focus on the problematic role of studying history by examining three competing philosophical approaches, namely, modernism (single, factual accounts), postmodernism (relativist, discursive and plural accounts) and amodernism (relational multiple accounts), and their implications for research strategies. We draw on examples from commercial aviation to provide understanding of how each of these research strategies can be applied and their contrasting strengths and weaknesses. In the process, the key concepts we discuss are feminist theory, archival research, junctures, history, the past and ANTi-History.

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Albert J. Mills and Jean Helms Mills

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Albert J. Mills and Jean Helms Mills

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Jean Helms Mills and Albert J. Mills

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Caterina Bettin and Albert J. Mills

Caterina Bettin and Albert J. Mills focus their discussion on the work of philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, whose ideas are rarely seen as a mainstay in organizational theorizing. Bettin and Mills contend that a de Beauvoirian understanding of subjectivity retains a sense of existential and phenomenological autonomy for the subject to create the conditions for his or her life, while at the same time acknowledging that there are real limits for human freedom in terms of oppressive social and organizational structures. However, the struggle between freedom and submission is not a dialectic between abstract domains of structures and subjects The notion of the ‘art of living’ denotes the practical and open-ended character of the struggle for one’s particular life project in the context of oppressive and alienating structures. Following de Beauvoir, organizational theorizing on the nature of the self could avoid the extremes of essentialism and postmodern nihilism, they argue.

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Tianyuan Yu, Albert J. Mills and Jean Helms Mills

This chapter proposes a radically different starting point for consideration of the epistemological character of management and organizational history – a Zen-informed approach that is neither wholly Western nor Eastern in the twenty-first century but a way of rethinking knowledge that crosses geopolitical boundaries. The authors start by reconfiguring Burrell and Morgan’s sociological framework, informed by the Zen spirit of non-duality and non-attachment. The proposed ‘global model’ provides an innovative solution to the problem of paradigm incommensurability. They also suggest that the symbolic representation of Zen in management and organization studies is something ‘global’ in contrast to the bipolar, linear, two-dimensional matrices typical in Western theoretical constructions. Accordingly, a Zen approach is a hybrid version or a multi-paradigm approach. The authors use a cross-cultural study of a social phenomenon – the divergent discourses on the Weberian notion of bureaucracy in China and Canada – to explore the potential of a Zen-informed approach.

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Gabrielle Durepos, Albert J. Mills and Patricia Genoe McLaren

This chapter asks who is the management historian? The question is timely because many management and organization studies researchers now do history, but they are doing it without conventional history training. This begs the question: are they licensed to write history and can they legitimately translate the past into history? In this chapter, the authors suggest de-privileging the historian as the sole arbiter of history to instead see her as an actor-network. Implying that the historian is an actor-network reminds us to consider the (human, non-human and non-corporeal) actors in her surroundings that have helped shape her formative professional development. To the extent that the historian is an outcome of, and stands on behalf of, her historical context, asking who she is necessitates an engagement with the notion of context. The chapter discusses the modernist historian and her context, followed by the postmodernist historian and her contexts. Finally, the authors draw on actor-network theory to flesh out who is the (amodernist) ANTi-Historian.