Transversing dualisms and situating the embodied self in organizational theory and practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter I take up the significance of Calvin O. Schrag's view of the embodied self for the study of organizational communication and, more generally, for the study of organizations. Schrag's ontology of the embodied self provides the grounds for critiquing contemporary organizational practices that invoke modernist dualisms that bifurcate the subject from the object and the individual from the community. At first glance, Schrag's approach to critiquing dualistic thinking may appear similar to other postmodern and critical frameworks. However, an important contribution Schrag's work offers is its emphasis on the individual. Critical and postmodern approaches tend to pit the individual against the "system" or "management" and then address individual agency as resistant forms of bricolage and/or by postulating subversive pleasures. In contrast, Schrag wants to resituate the individual as a responsive and responsible self, but in a way that avoids the modernist fallacy of autonomous individualism. Thus, I believe that the primary significance of Schrag's ontology of the embodied self for organizational communication theory and practice is that it allows us to view individuals as agents endowed with the capacity and responsibility to act ethically in their relation to self and others. By centering the act, the decision to act ethically or not, Schrag extends the role of the subject beyond that of bricolager.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExperiences between Philosophy and Communication
Subtitle of host publicationEngaging the Philosophical Contributions of Calvin O. Schrag
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)079145875X, 9780791458754
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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