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The work and lives of marginalised indigenous women in the Global South are located outside of the dominant Western discourse of management and organisation. There is limited empirical engagement with marginalised indigenous women in the Global South within the organisation studies discipline. As a result, we know little about how they construct their identity as women and their organisation/organising experiences in the context of their social, cultural and historical location. My ethnographic research takes us into the lives of Maya women community weaving groups in the rural Highlands of Sololá, Guatemala, and explores the everydayness of their work and lives so to document their contribution to the organisation studies discipline. In so doing, my research provides space for marginalised Maya women to voice their own understanding of gender, identity and work from within the context of their social, cultural and historical location. Applying the critical lenses of postcolonial theory, decolonial theory and feminist theory to organisation studies, my dissertation builds a post/decolonial feminist theoretical approach to offer an alternative to the field of organisation studies as it currently stands, a discipline dominated by theories that are implicitly male/masculine, white/Western and bourgeois/managerial. My approach challenges an ontology of modernity and recognises different organising/organisation knowledges produced from the perspective of ‘Otherness’, and, thereby, contributes to the deconstruction of the mechanical transfer of organisation knowledge from the West to the Global South. Equally, my theoretical approach is built into my ethnographic approach to recognise the cultural, social and historical location of the Maya women participants, reflexively examine the self-Other relationship in this context, and address the complexities of positionality and representation. My three-month ethnography finds that marginalised Maya women working together in community weaving groups have developed working practices that respect their indigenous worldviews and cater to the everydayness of being an indigenous Maya woman. The Maya women have reclaimed the value of community and collective action to address the challenges of living in the socio-economic margins. In sum, my dissertation demonstrates the knowledge and agency of Maya women and their capacity to create and organise.
Manning, J. (2016) Maya Women Organising in the Margins: A Post Decolonial Feminist Approach. Doctoral thesis, DIT, 2016.