On the multi-modality, materially and contingency of organization discourse

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Journal Article
Organization Studies, 2007, 28 (6), pp. 931 - 946
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This essay considers the ways that organizational discourse studies have deployed the concept 'discourse'. A review of the literature reveals conceptual ambiguities in the definition of 'discourse', as well as pre-analytical distinctions that are imposed between discourse, action and text, and between discourse, beliefs and material practices. The paper suggests that such a priori analytical categories risk tying the researcher to an inflexible research agenda, ruling out engaging with organizational specifics and emergent aspects of practice. The essay argues for an alternative view of discourse that centres on the following three arguments: discourse is not limited to language but also includes image, design, technology and other modes of meaning making; discourse and materiality co-emerge; and discourse manifests a specific, historically situated form of life. Copyright © 2007 SAGE Publications.
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