Archives par étiquette : organizations

Double séminaire “A Theory of Racialized Organizations” / “The Flint Water Coup: Debt at the End of Democracy”Double séminaire

Lundi 13 mai 2024, 18h, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, salle 126 Saint-Charles 1 et en visioconférence.

Séminaire organisé par Hervé Mayer dans le cadre de l’axe « Faire commun » d’EMMA.

Victor Ray (U. of Iowa, PMU) ” A Theory of Racialized Organizations” 

Organizational theory scholars typically see organizations as race-neutral bureaucratic structures, while race and ethnicity scholars have largely neglected the role of organizations in the social construction of race. The theory developed in this talk bridges these subfields, arguing that organizations are racial structures—cognitive schemas connecting organizational rules to social and material resources. I begin with the proposition that race is constitutive of organizational foundations, hierarchies, and processes. Next, I develop four tenets: (1) racialized organizations enhance or diminish the agency of racial groups; (2) racialized organizations legitimate the unequal distribution of resources; (3) Whiteness is a credential; and (4) the decoupling of formal rules from organizational practice is often racialized. I argue that racialization theory must account for how both state policy and individual attitudes are filtered through—and changed by—organizations. Seeing race as constitutive of organizations helps us better understand the formation and everyday functioning of organizations. Incorporating organizations into a structural theory of racial inequality can help us better understand stability, change, and the institutionalization of racial inequality. I conclude with an overview of internal and external sources of organizational change and a discussion of how the theory of racialized organizations may set the agenda for future research.

Bio: Victor Ray’s research applies critical race theory to classic sociological questions. He is currently working on two book manuscripts: a project focused on race and organizational theory and an edited volume (co-edited with Jennifer Mueller) on race and sociological theory writ large. His work has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Contexts, Ethnic and Racial Studies, The Journal of Marriage and Family, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity and Sociological Theory. In addition to this research, Victor is also an active public scholar, publishing commentary in outlets such as The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Boston Review. Victor’s work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

Louise Seamster (U. of Iowa) “The Flint Water Coup: Debt at the End of Democracy”

Ten years after Flint’s fateful 2014 switch to treating the corrosive Flint River for drinking water, there is broad agreement that the Flint Water Crisis constituted a “clear case of environmental injustice.” But there is surprisingly little research into why the crisis happened. Did that designation obscure more than it illuminated?
In this talk, I discuss findings from my forthcoming book, an archival ethnography built around a 455,000-page dataset of public government emails from Flint’s crisis (soon to be released by my team as a searchable database). Drawing on a relational framework of “creative extraction” (Purifoy and Seamster 2021), I focus on resource flows, debt relationships, the invalidation of independent governance, and political narratives. Instead of cross-organizational failure, my investigation shows a largely successful coalitional project to redistribute water resources and political control in Michigan. Flint’s water switch to the river was central to this project. My findings will help us understand how water financialization is shaping water governance, and how these dynamics reproduce racial inequality in access to clean, affordable water.

Bio: Louise Seamster is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and the program of African American Studies at the University of Iowa. She is also a Research Fellow in the Social and Education Policy Research Program at the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center, and a Nonresident Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines contemporary mechanisms for the reproduction of racial and economic inequality.

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