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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.