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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

The Ethical Organization and the Ideal of Diversity

The idea of diversity has lately taken hold in many organizations. The pursuit of diversity engages the matter of the organization's workplace ideal. In becoming self-conscious about this ideal, the organization involves itself in shaping the composition of its workforce, and in determining the sorts of interactions in the workplace it tolerates and encourages. This shaping of its workforce to express its commitment to diversity suggests the operation of an underlying organizational fantasy, which I will refer to as the fantasy of the peaceable kingdom. In this fantasy, rather than understanding fear and hate, and rather than dealing with their consequences, the organization simply declares that, within it, they will not exist. In the following, I explore this fantasy and especially its psychic meaning. I begin with some of the language used by organizations having a strong commitment to diversity as a goal.