Sex, Work and Sex Work: Eroticizing Organization

Sex, Work and Sex Work: Eroticizing Organization

Sex, Work and Sex Work: Eroticizing Organization

Sex, Work and Sex Work: Eroticizing Organization


Sex is much more rife in the workplace than many would think according to this fascinating and controversial new book. It argues that not only does sexuality pervade every aspect of organizations, but also that organization pervades every aspect of our sexuality.

This two-way conceptualization lends the book a two-part structure, covering firstly the ways in which organizational behaviour is shaped through issues such as male managers' experience of violence, organizational constructions of sexual harassment, and professionals who work with sex offenders. The second part of the book examines how sex is organized for commercial purposes, and considers sex work as an industry which can be analyzed as any other, with important insights for normal organizing. Key features of the book include sections on:

• organizing as sexual activity

• connecting desire, the erotic, the abject and organization

• the 'hidden' penetration of organization processes by sexuality

• the 'dark side' of sex and organization and the importance of transgression

• the double effect of discursive and material placing

• organizing sexuality within prostitution

• prostitution as a complex and varied industry.

Fascinating and informative, this controversial book is a valuable source of information for postgraduates and researchers in the fields of business, management and sexuality and gender studies.


Reading sex into organization, reading organization into sex

Sexuality has traditionally been seen to be the very antithesis of what organizations are about—which tends to be constructed as control, instrumental rationality and the suppression of instinct and emotion. Sex and work, it is argued from this perspective, don’t mix. However, more recent arguments have suggested that this is in fact a denial of the obvious—that sexuality pervades every aspect of organizations, but that this is not conventionally acknowledged. in this book we explore this claim in detail by analysing the interconnections between sex and work in two different ways: the first looks at the channelling of sexuality in organizations, exploring how work may be seen as sexually organized; the second at how sexuality is commercially commodified, and how sex work itself becomes organized. Thus we read sex into organization in the first part of the book, and organization into sex in the second part of the book.

Sex work here functions not only as the focus of the second part of the book, but as the crucial brisure between sexuality and organization. This is because we find sex work subject to a double rejection—the first in the discursive construction of ‘normal’ sexuality by virtue of its being commercialized and organized, and hence inauthentic; the second in the discursive construction of organizing because it is sexual, and hence illegitimate. Sex work therefore captures and constitutes an example of a category of both psychological and social being which is an important element in our understanding of the processes of desire—the abject.

Considering the abject involves paying attention to several aspects of desire which re-eroticization theory (Burrell 1992a), as one response to the idea that work is always and already sexualized, neglects. Re-eroticization theory, as Burrell constructs it in ‘The organization of pleasure’, suggests that the removal of oppressive structures will allow the full emergence of eros in all its creativity and relational process to make organizations more passionate, human and exciting places to be. Perhaps less idealistically, Gherardi (1995) argues for the recognition that all work is sexualized to a degree, and accordingly ought to be considered to be a form of sex work, as people trade on their sexuality in negotiating their path through organizations. Both of these approaches suggest that desire is commodified in modern organizations but neither addresses fully the connections between organizing processes and desiring processes. the construction of desire, which in most approaches to organization at least remains

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.