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Smell organization: Bodies and corporeal porosity in office work

Riach, Kathleen and Warren, Samantha (2014) 'Smell organization: Bodies and corporeal porosity in office work.' Human Relations. ISSN 0018-7267

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Abstract

This article contributes to a sensory equilibrium in studies of workplace life through a qualitative study of everyday smells in UK offices. Drawing on Csordas’ (2008) phenomenology of intercorporeality, we develop the concept of corporeal porosity as a way of articulating the negotiation of bodily integrity in organizational experience. We explore the corporeal porosity of workplace life through smell-orientated interview and diary-based methods and our findings highlight the interdependence of shared, personal, local and cultural elementals when experiencing smell in office-based work. Our analysis explores three elements of bodily integrity: ‘cultural permeability’; ‘locating smell in-between’; and ‘sensual signifiers’. This suggests that while the senses are part of the ephemeral, affective ‘glue’ that floats between and around working bodies, they also foreground the constantly active character of relationality in organizational life. Corporeal porosity, therefore, captures the entanglement of embodied traces and fragments – corporeal seeping and secretion that has hitherto taken a backseat in organizational studies of the body at work.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: body at work corporeal porosity Csordas intercorporeality organizational embodiment sensory methods smell
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 10:24
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2014 10:24
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11735

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