A Research Companion
Edited by Olympia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin
Chapter 14: Discourses of Relations and Relational Processes
14 Discourses of relations and relational processes Dian Marie Hosking Introduction This is a story of relations and relating. There is no wolf, no Little Red Riding Hood; there are no bears, nor little piggies. It is not a heroic tale of how one particular discourse proves its superiority by vanquishing other discourses; it is not a tale told from behind the wings, the modernist author’s pen, or the realist painter’s brush. This story, like all stories, is told from a particular point of view or standpoint – one that I shall try to make explicit – one that I shall call ‘critical relational constructionism’ (CRC). From this standpoint I shall provide a schematic overview of diﬀerent discourses of relations by discussing three ‘intelligibility nuclei’ (Gergen, 1995) in terms of their interrelated ‘lines of distinction’ (Deetz, 2000). I shall call these discourses (1) ‘this and that thinking’; (2) constructivism; and (3) critical relational constructionism. In each case I shall focus on how relations and/or relating are understood – given the wider network of distinctions. Illustrations from the literatures of organization studies and, in particular, Fred Fiedler’s theory of leadership eﬀectiveness, will be outlined – not to position a particular study or approach to say what it is, but rather to illustrate abstract conceptions. The third discourse, critical relational constructionism, will receive the most detailed exploration. CRC presents a radically diﬀerent discourse of relations – one that opens up new possibilities for relational theorizing, inquiry, change work and other kinds of practice. This...
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