Postoclonialism, power and diversity
European Academy of Management Conference
‘Gender, Race and Diversity in Organisations’ Special Interest Group
Beverly Dawn Metcalfe, Jawad Syed, Hamid Kazeroony, and Harry J. Van Buren III
Date: 3 June 2016
Venue: Université Paris Est Créteil
The plenary offered a global perspective on postoclonialism and diversity. It
highlighted and challenged the power of colonial and neoliberal knowledge that
dominates much thinking in management and development. It discussed issues of whiteness, whiteliness and the doorkeeping in management theorisation and practice as well as in journal submission and publication.
With the emergence of BRICS and other growing economies, there is a need to engage with the postcolonial and transnational landscape and consider alternatives to Western voices to critique and reform the political economy of inequality. How far has the power of postcolonial discourse been embedded in institutions and cultural practices, or resisted? While two states as part of BRICS – China and Russia – promote socialism and secularism, both of these states have questionable equality and human rights records. For example, there seems to be far right and white supremacist resurgence and the persecution of feminist and gay activists in Russia. Similarly, a masculinist social ethic seems to prevail in China that excludes women. There is also an issue of mass increase of sexual violence against women in India. Another pressing issue is the persecution and violence facing non-Muslims and non-Salafi/non-Deobandi Muslims in Muslim majority countries. In Africa, postcolonial issues such as indigenous perspectives and rights, developing a regional academic voice and the role of culture in diversity are some of the key issues that require critical assessment. These relational dynamics are interweaving and also affect the approach to management and organization of diversity. Never have issues of inequality, gender, race, religion and diversity and their intersections, been so prominent on the world stage.
The plenary sought to recapture the power of postcolonial thinking to advance equity and human rights debates.