Commodity Diversity: Smiling Faces as a Strategy of Containment

Sage Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization, 2010, 17 (1), pp. 77 - 100
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Arguing that commodities used in diversity management are relatively under-researched, this article examines a popular diversity imageâa photograph of diversity as a mosaicâin order to explore what it can tell us about how racial difference is represented visually. In its close reading of the composition of the picture, the article argues that this diversity image acknowledges difference while at the same time it actually homogenizes it. The mosaic inscribes difference within a sameness grid and commodifies it. In so doing, it attempts to disable any political antagonism from minoritized groups, and placate the imagined white viewer, operating as a strategy of containment. The article contributes to critical diversity studies by drawing attention to visual techniques as technologies of ârace makingâ and visual images as important sites of power struggle.
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