Wikileaks and The News of the World: The Political Circuitry of Labeling

Publisher:
SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Management Inquiry, 2015, 24 (4), pp. 394 - 404
Issue Date:
2015-03-01
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Labels are important when organizations seek membership in an existing category, as are the agreed upon labeling practices of audiences that are already members of that category. The origins of labeling theory emerge from sociological examinations of deviant behavior and of deviant individuals. We return to this earlier emphasis and extend the analysis to organizations to demonstrate the contribution of a more politicized conception of labeling and categorizing for organization studies’ literature. In drawing upon two empirical illustrations, that of Wikileaks and News Corp’s The News of the World, we apply a “circuits of power” framework to analyze the politics of labeling. We suggest that a more politicized conception than offered in current literature highlights the moral reasoning, disciplining, and symbolic violence that may be invoked by labels and labeling practices and also the circuits of power by which they may be maintained and disrupted.
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