University of Essex

Seminars for 2016/17


16 December 2016: Leadership and the Ethico-Politics of Intersectionality (The Centre for Work, Organisation and Society)

Helena Liu from UTS Business School, University of Technology (Sydney, Australia)

At 13:00 in EBS.2.68.

Abstract: Although race forms a fundamental way in which we structure the world, it has traditionally been reduced to an essentialist trait, if not silenced altogether in the mainstream leadership literature. Grounded in the assumption that whiteness represents the human norm, leadership theorising ignoring the role of race can inadvertently reinforce systems of racial and imperial power. Intersectionality theory offers one way by which we may attend to the multiple interlocking systems of power that inform what it means to be a ‘leader.’ Through the study of a self-identified cis-male heterosexual Chinese senior manager in Australia, my analysis explores the various oppressions and privileges he navigated to strengthen his claim on leadership. At the same time, interviews with his followers highlighted the ways his white employees drew on white supremacist discourses embedded in the history of Chinese immigration in Australia to delegitimise his leadership. I conclude with a consideration of the future of intersectional analyses in leadership studies, particularly around how we may preserve the ethico-political ethos of intersectionality’s Black feminist roots.

In this seminar, Helena Liu presented her paper, titled, Leadership and the Ethico-Politics of Intersectionality.

Seminar end time: 2.30pm

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