Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Matter that embodies: Agentive flesh and working body/selves

Harding, NH; Gilmore, S; Ford, J

Matter that embodies: Agentive flesh and working body/selves Thumbnail


NH Harding

S Gilmore


The post-Cartesian ‘material turn’ in management and organization studies understands that bodies are far more than vehicles that enable work to be undertaken, but are agentive actors in the constitution of work and working selves. This leads to the need for more empirically-derived understanding of the agency of flesh in the performative corporealization of working, embodied selves. We met this challenge through adapting feminist, posthuman research methods for a study of the materialities and materialization of working bodies. The study takes forward Judith Butler’s and Karen Barad’s theories of performativity by reading them through each other, and introducing flesh as an agentive actor in each moment-to-moment move. In paying close attention to the speech of supposedly ‘dumb flesh’ we show how flesh resists its negation and itself imposes control on the worker. We coin the term ‘body/flesh’ and illuminate how bodies are active and agentive, constituting corporeal/izing working selves in somewhat unexpected ways.


Harding, N., Gilmore, S., & Ford, J. (2022). Matter that embodies: Agentive flesh and working body/selves. Organization Studies, 43(5), 649-668.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 22, 2021
Publication Date May 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 3, 2021
Journal Organization Studies
Print ISSN 0170-8406
Electronic ISSN 1741-3044
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 5
Pages 649-668
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Harding N, Gilmore S, Ford J. Matter That Embodies: Agentive Flesh and Working Bodies/Selves. Organization Studies. 2022;43(5):649-668. Copyright © 2021 The Authors doi:10.1177/0170840621993235

You might also like

Downloadable Citations