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Towards a Performative Understanding of Deservingness: Merit, Gender and the BBC Pay Dispute

Simpson, Ruth, Kumra, Savita, Lewis, Patricia, Rumens, Nick (2019) Towards a Performative Understanding of Deservingness: Merit, Gender and the BBC Pay Dispute. Gender, Work & Organization, . ISSN 0968-6673. E-ISSN 1468-0432. (doi:10.1111/gwao.12397) (KAR id:74526)

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Abstract

Drawing largely on a high profile case of unequal pay at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as an illustrative example, this conceptual paper considers differences and interrelationships between merit and deservingness, where the latter captures how, through appropriate performances, merit is given recognition and value. We propose a performative understanding of deservingness that highlights its gendered and embodied dimensions. Informed by Judith Butler’s account of gender performativity, we show that, while merit is conventionally conceptualized as a relatively fixed set of attributes (qualifications, skill) ‘attached’ to the individual, deservingness captures how, in gendered terms, value and recognition are both claimed and conferred. As we argue, a gendered, deserving subject does not pre-exist but is performatively constituted through embodied practices and performances of what is seen as worthy in a particular time and place.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/gwao.12397
Uncontrolled keywords: deservingness, merit, performativity, gender, pay gap, BBC
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School > Kent Business School
Depositing User: Patricia Lewis
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 13:07 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/74526 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Lewis, Patricia: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9842-4412
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