Reinventing diversity

Reinventing diversity

Lisa Buchter defends her thesis on December 17, 2019
  • Women listen to a speaker at a conference. Public Domain Mark 1.0Women listen to a speaker at a conference. Public Domain Mark 1.0

Lisa Buchter, joint-PhD candidate at Sciences Po's Centre de Sociologie des Organisations and Northwestern University, will defend her thesis entitled "Reinventing diversity: activists interfering with the managerialization of the law" on Tuesday December 17, 2019.

A growing body of research analyzes how corporate social responsibility programs are used to absorb and neutralize the social criticisms coming from social and environmental movements and to superficially respond to the ensuing new regulations. If companies have powerful tools to resist changes and blunt the meaning of the law, then we need further research on how social movements develop forms of legal mobilizations to interfere in the endogenous design of organizational policies. While important bodies of social movement literature look at how social movement actors keep denouncing and monitoring symbolic structures exogenously – relying on contentious or disruptive repertoires of actions – I take the case of French diversity programs to explore ways in which social movement actors seek to get involved within the interpretation and the design of these organizational symbolic structures. Relying on a qualitative research design (ethnography, interviews, textual analysis), I study how activists and social movements organizations developed repertoires of actions to seek to change what happened within diversity programs of public and private organizations. Most insider activists and non-profit organizations I studied within this research used forms of prefigurative diversity programs, designing and proposing to organizations new practices to source job applicants, assess them, raise awareness about discrimination, monitor discrimination, or develop more equitable policies, in the hopes that organizations would appropriate or recuperate them.

Lisa Buchter's thesis defence will take place at 2pm at the Sciences Po Doctoral School, 199 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris.

Jury: Laure Bereni, Bruce Carruthers, Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier (research director), Ruthanne Huising, Brayden King, Jérôme Pelisse.


PhDs in gender studies at Sciences Po (FR)

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