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Being occupied: an embodied re-reading of organizational ‘wellness’

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2014
Issue number2
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)159-177
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


‘Organizational wellness’ has become a high profile issue for businesses. We argue that a ‘wellness movement’ has sprung up around a particular coalescence of economic, ideological and organizational interests. In this article we re-read the discourse of this ‘movement’ through the lens of ‘organized embodiment’. We argue that organizational wellness operates as a rhetorical device which masks contradictory power relations. It serves to hide differential occupational effects and opportunities for workers, and obscures the relationship between wellness and its necessary Other, unwellness. The article suggests that employee unwellness is often produced—and required—by the different forms of organized embodiment that arise directly from occupations and employment. It analyses this corporeal ‘occupation’ in terms of the extortion, exchange and embrace of our bodies to the coercive, calculative and normative power of the organization. Thus, our organizational experiences produce an embodied individual who is ‘fit’ for purpose in a rather more circumscribed fashion than prevailing discourses of wellness might suggest.