Call for papers – ORGANIZATION



‘Sexuality is nothing if not complicated – but that is no excuse for ignoring it’ (Burrell, 1984: 113).
Gibson Burrell’s ‘Sex and Organizational Analysis’, published in Organization Studies in 1984, represented an important contribution to the then emergent field of critical management and organization studies, based upon a welcome application of insights from sociology, philosophy and social history to the study of sexuality at work. Thirty years on, while sexuality remains a relatively marginal topic in mainstream organizational analysis, a burgeoning body of ideas has emerged in more critical quarters representing a flourishing dialogue that has stretched across disciplinary boundaries. This has been inspired and influenced particularly by the impact of feminist theory and politics, as well as insights from queer theory, poststructuralism and postcolonialism. Alongside these important theoretical developments, the lived experiences of sexuality within organizations have changed considerably within the last three decades. Sexuality has arguably never been so controlled, commodified and commercialized. At the same time, protective legislation combined with changing social attitudes and political capacities mean that in some contexts, and for some groups, organizations have become more diverse, tolerant places than a generation or so ago. In many ways, and reflecting a ‘historical convergence of empirical, policy, political, theoretical, technological, spatial and indeed personal concerns’ (Hearn, 2011: 299), sexuality has never been so organized.

The dialectical emphasis on sexuality as a ‘frontier’ of control and resistance, advocated in ‘Sex and Organizational Analysis’, has been reflected in many subsequent attempts to make sense of the relationship between sexuality and organization through a series of interventions over the past thirty years or so that have sought to emphasize the centrality of sexuality to organizational power relations in all their many forms. As Fleming (2007: 239) has recently noted in this respect, ‘following Burrell’s landmark analysis of sexuality and organization, a good deal of the discussion has been couched in terms of power, control and resistance’. It is this complex melange of power and pleasure, control and resistance, exclusion and over-inclusion that continues both to fascinate and elude organizational scholars, and which means that sexuality remains a central if relatively neglected aspect of organizational lives and processes.

Inter-disciplinary and iconoclastic in its orientation, Organization has played a crucial role in expanding the field of organization studies, providing an often ground-breaking context within which to explore themes and ideas that have traditionally been neglected or negated by mainstream management studies, including a concern with the relationship between sexuality and organization. Continuing this tradition, this special issue seeks to provide a timely opportunity to reflect on developments in the study and lived experience of sexuality within organizations over the last three decades. It also seeks to provide a provocative forum in which to anticipate possible future developments in organizational forms, policies and practices, as well as to map out potential conceptual, methodological and theoretical directions in the study of sexuality and organizations.

With this mind, we invite empirical, conceptual, methodological and theoretical contributions to this special issue of Organization from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives. Possible areas for investigation might include (but need not be limited to) any of the following:

·        Sexuality and organizational power, control and resistance; sexuality and surveillance.
·        Sexual harassment, violence and violation within/through organizations.
·        Organizational de/re-eroticization.
·        Sex work and sexualized forms of labour.
·        Physically, social and morally ‘dirty work’, abjection and sexuality.
·        Sex, religion and organizational spirituality.
·        Global organizations and sexuality; imperialism and neo-colonialism.
·        Sexuality, art and organizational aesthetics.
·        Sexual language, imagery and organizational culture.
·        Sexuality, work and organizations in the mass media and popular culture.
·        Information and communication technologies, virtuality and sexuality.
·         Sexual commodification, co-optation and branding.
·         Sexual identity, diversity and difference; sexuality as a human resource within organizations; the management of sexuality; legislative and institutional change.
·         Intersectionalities between sexuality, age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, generation, ‘race’ and nationality; trans-gendering and trans-sexualities.
·         Sexuality, corporeality and ethics; sexual communities.
·         Sexuality, eroticism and leadership.


Papers should be submitted electronically by 31st October 2012 to SAGETrack at

Papers must be no more than 8,000 words, excluding references, and will be blind reviewed in accordance with the journal’s standard review process. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the guidelines published in Organization and on the journal’s website:

For further information or to discuss a possible submission, please contact one of the guest editors: Jo Brewis (, Albert Mills (albert.mills@SMU.CA) or Melissa Tyler (


Burrell, G. (1984) ‘Sex and Organizational Analysis’, Organization Studies. 5(2): 97-118.

Fleming, P. (2007) ‘Sexuality, Power and Resistance in the Workplace’, Organization Studies. 28(2): 239-256.

Hearn, J. (2011) ‘Sexualities, Work, Organizations, and Managements: Empirical, Policy, and Theoretical Challenges’, in E. Jeanes, D. Knights and P.Y. Martin (eds) Handbook of Gender, Work and Organization. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 299-314.