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Diversifying Capitalism: Race, Value, and the Making of the Corporate Workplace After Affirmative Action

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This dissertation examines how diversity professionals create business value in and of diversity after the systemic dismantlement of corporate affirmative action policies. It traces the work of diversity professionals who produce business knowledge and organizational techniques, including management, economist, and psychology scholars, management consultants, corporate executives and board members, human resource professionals, middle managers, and newly minted diversity officers and Chief Diversity Officers. It draws on ethnographic research conducted from 2014 to 2016: on participant observation data acquired at a national diversity management firm and at over 50 knowledge-sharing events, on discourse analysis of business white papers and industry reports, and on interviews conducted with leading diversity-scholar experts, corporate managers, and diversity event coordinators. It finds that through scientific, economic, and racial reasoning practices, diversity professionals operationalize race and challenge racism within capitalist bureaucratic corporations. They do so, in effect, by aligning the production of antiracist ideologies and practices to the pursuit of profit.

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This item is under embargo until June 6, 2024.